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J Biol Chem. 2006 Apr 14;281(15):10461-72. Epub 2006 Feb 6.

Positioned nucleosomes due to sequential remodeling of the yeast U6 small nuclear RNA chromatin are essential for its transcriptional activation.

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  • 1Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Uppal Road, Tarnaka, Hyderabad 500007, India.


Transcription from the yeast SNR6 (U6 small nuclear RNA) chromatin, a gene transcribed by the enzyme RNA polymerase III, depends on its transcription factor IIIC (TFIIIC) and the promoter elements (the intragenic box A and box B located downstream to its terminator) to which TFIIIC binds. The genes transcribed by polymerase III generally lack the upstream promoter elements where TFIIIC is known to recruit the transcription initiation factor TFIIIB. The TFIIIC-dependent chromatin remodeling of the gene in vitro that involves translational positioning of a nucleosome between boxes A and B is found to be essential for its transcriptional activation. We show here that the role of TFIIIC is not limited to the recruitment of TFIIIB on chromatin templates. The pre-binding of TFIIIB to the SNR6 TATA box in the upstream gene region does not alleviate TFIIIC requirement for transcriptional activation of the chromatin. Binding of TFIIIC to an array of pre-positioned nucleosomes results in an upward shift of the single nucleosome between boxes A and B. The approximately 40-bp shift of this nucleosome in the 3' to 5' direction leads to increased nuclease sensitivity of the approximately 40-bp DNA 3' to the upstream TATA box. Further chromatin remodeling accompanies the binding of TFIIIB in the next step. This two-step remodeling mechanism using the basal factors of the gene yields high transcription levels and generates a chromatin structure similar to that reported for the gene in vivo.

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