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Genetics. 2001 Oct;159(2):487-97.

Genetic interactions of Spt4-Spt5 and TFIIS with the RNA polymerase II CTD and CTD modifying enzymes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 95064, USA.


Genetic and biochemical studies have identified many factors thought to be important for transcription elongation. We investigated relationships between three classes of these factors: (1) transcription elongation factors Spt4-Spt5, TFIIS, and Spt16; (2) the C-terminal heptapeptide repeat domain (CTD) of RNA polymerase II; and (3) protein kinases that phosphorylate the CTD and a phosphatase that dephosphorylates it. We observe that spt4 and spt5 mutations cause strong synthetic phenotypes in combination with mutations that shorten or alter the composition of the CTD; affect the Kin28, Bur1, or Ctk1 CTD kinases; and affect the CTD phosphatase Fcp1. We show that Spt5 co-immunoprecipitates with RNA polymerase II that has either a hyper- or a hypophosphorylated CTD. Furthermore, mutation of the CTD or of CTD modifying enzymes does not affect the ability of Spt5 to bind RNA polymerase II. We find a similar set of genetic interactions between the CTD, CTD modifying enzymes, and TFIIS. In contrast, an spt16 mutation did not show these interactions. These results suggest that the CTD plays a key role in modulating elongation in vivo and that at least a subset of elongation factors are dependent upon the CTD for their normal function.

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