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Mol Cell. 2001 Aug;8(2):327-37.

NF-kappaB binds P-TEFb to stimulate transcriptional elongation by RNA polymerase II.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute Departments of Medicine, Microbiology, and Immunology University of California at San Francisco 94143, USA.


To stimulate transcriptional elongation of HIV-1 genes, the transactivator Tat recruits the positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb) to the initiating RNA polymerase II (RNAPII). We found that the activation of transcription by RelA also depends on P-TEFb. Similar to Tat, RelA activated transcription when tethered to RNA. Moreover, TNF-alpha triggered the recruitment of P-TEFb to the NF-kappaB-regulated IL-8 gene. While the formation of the transcription preinitiation complex (PIC) remained unaffected, DRB, an inhibitor of P-TEFb, prevented RNAPII from elongating on the IL-8 gene. Remarkably, DRB inhibition sensitized cells to TNF-alpha-induced apoptosis. Thus, NF-kappaB requires P-TEFb to stimulate the elongation of transcription and P-TEFb plays an unexpected role in regulating apoptosis.

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