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J Biol Chem. 1999 Sep 3;274(36):25807-13.

Evidence that transcription factor IIB is required for a post-assembly step in transcription initiation.

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Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Mutation of glutamate 62 to lysine in yeast transcription factor (TF) IIB (Sua7) causes a cold-sensitive phenotype. This mutant also leads to preferential transcription of downstream start sites on some promoters in vivo. To explore the molecular nature of these phenotypes, the TFIIB E62K mutant was characterized in vitro. The mutant interacts with TATA-binding protein normally. In three different assays, the mutant can also interact with RNA polymerase II and recruit it and the other basal transcription factors to a promoter. Despite the ability to assemble a transcription complex, the TFIIB E62K protein is severely defective in transcription in vitro. Therefore, the role of TFIIB must be more than simply bridging TATA-binding protein and polymerase at the promoter. We propose that the region around Glu-62 in yeast TFIIB plays a role in start site selection, perhaps mediating a conformational change in the polymerase or the DNA during the search for initiation sites. This step may be related to the yeast-specific spacing between TATA elements and start sites since mutations of the corresponding glutamate in mammalian TFIIB do not produce a similar effect.

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