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J Biol Chem. 1999 Dec 10;274(50):35668-75.

Dual roles for transcription factor IIF in promoter escape by RNA polymerase II.

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  • 1Program in Molecular and Cell Biology, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73104, USA.


Transcription factor (TF) IIF is a multifunctional RNA polymerase II transcription factor that has well established roles in both transcription initiation, where it functions as a component of the preinitiation complex and is required for formation of the open complex and synthesis of the first phosphodiester bond of nascent transcripts, and in transcription elongation, where it is capable of interacting directly with the ternary elongation complex and stimulating the rate of transcription. In this report, we present evidence that TFIIF is also required for efficient promoter escape by RNA polymerase II. Our findings argue that TFIIF performs dual roles in this process. We observe (i) that TFIIF suppresses the frequency of abortive transcription by very early RNA polymerase II elongation intermediates by increasing their processivity and (ii) that TFIIF cooperates with TFIIH to prevent premature arrest of early elongation intermediates. In addition, our findings argue that two TFIIF functional domains mediate TFIIF action in promoter escape. First, we observe that a TFIIF mutant selectively lacking elongation activity supports TFIIH action in promoter escape, but is defective in suppressing the frequency of abortive transcription by very early RNA polymerase II elongation intermediates. Second, a TFIIF mutant selectively lacking initiation activity is more active than wild type TFIIF in increasing the processivity of very early elongation intermediates, but is defective in supporting TFIIH action in promoter escape. Taken together, our findings bring to light a function for TFIIF in promoter escape and support a role for TFIIF elongation activity in this process.

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