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J Cell Sci. 2001 Aug;114(Pt 16):2895-902.

TAF(II)250: a transcription toolbox.

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National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Activation of RNA-polymerase-II-dependent transcription involves conversion of signals provided by gene-specific activator proteins into the synthesis of messenger RNA. This conversion requires dynamic structural changes in chromatin and assembly of general transcription factors (GTFs) and RNA polymerase II at core promoter sequence elements surrounding the transcription start site of genes. One hallmark of transcriptional activation is the interaction of DNA-bound activators with coactivators such as the TATA-box binding protein (TBP)-associated factors (TAF(II)s) within the GTF TFIID. TAF(II)250 possesses a variety of activities that are likely to contribute to the initial steps of RNA polymerase II transcription. TAF(II)250 is a scaffold for assembly of other TAF(II)s and TBP into TFIID, TAF(II)250 binds activators to recruit TFIID to particular promoters, TAF(II)250 regulates binding of TBP to DNA, TAF(II)250 binds core promoter initiator elements, TAF(II)250 binds acetylated lysine residues in core histones, and TAF(II)250 possesses protein kinase, ubiquitin-activating/conjugating and acetylase activities that modify histones and GTFs. We speculate that these activities achieve two goals--(1) they aid in positioning and stabilizing TFIID at particular promoters, and (2) they alter chromatin structure at the promoter to allow assembly of GTFs--and we propose a model for how TAF(II)250 converts activation signals into active transcription.

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