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Biochem Soc Trans. 2006 Dec;34(Pt 6):1082-7.

Transcription factor TFIIIB and transcription by RNA polymerase III.

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  • 1Division of Biological Sciences and Center for Molecular Genetics, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0634, USA. gak@ucsd.edu


pol (RNA polymerase) III is charged with the task of transcribing nuclear genes encoding diverse small structural and catalytic RNAs. We present a brief review of the current understanding of several aspects of the pol III transcription apparatus. The focus is on yeast and, more specifically, on Saccharomyces cerevisiae; preponderant attention is given to the TFs (transcription initiation factors) and especially to TFIIIB, which is the core pol III initiation factor by virtue of its role in recruiting pol III to the transcriptional start site and its essential roles in forming the transcription-ready open promoter complex. Certain relatively recent developments are also selected for brief comment: (i) the genome-wide analysis of occupancy of pol III-transcribed genes (and other loci) by the transcription apparatus and the location of pol III transcription in the cell; (ii) progress toward a mechanistic and molecular understanding of the regulation of transcription by pol III in yeast; and (iii) recent experiments identifying a high mobility group protein as a fidelity factor that assures selection of the precise transcriptional start site at certain pol III promoters.

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