National Center for
4EC8: Structure Of Full Length Cdk9 In Complex With Cyclint And Drb
Structure (2012) 20 p.1788-1795
CDK9, the kinase of positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb), stimulates transcription elongation by phosphorylating RNA polymerase II and transcription elongation factors. Using kinetic analysis of a human P-TEFb complex consisting of CDK9 and cyclin T, we show that the CDK9 C-terminal tail sequence is important for the catalytic mechanism and imposes an ordered binding of substrates and release of products. Crystallographic analysis of a CDK9/cyclin T complex in which the C-terminal tail partially blocks the ATP binding site reveals a possible reaction intermediate. Biochemical characterization of CDK9 mutants supports a model in which the CDK9 tail cycles through different conformational states. We propose that this mechanism is critical for the pattern of CTD Ser2 phosphorylation on actively transcribed genes.