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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Feb 5;99(3):1241-6. Epub 2002 Jan 29.

Human Elongator facilitates RNA polymerase II transcription through chromatin.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Division of Nucleic Acids Enzymology, Department of Biochemistry, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA.


A human Elongator complex was purified from HeLa cells and found to be composed of three polypeptides. Human Elongator contains histone acetyltransferase activity with specificity to histone H3 and, to a much lesser extent, to histone H4. Although many reports have suggested a role for the yeast Elongator in transcription elongation through chromatin templates, no direct evidence supporting this function exists. In the present study, we demonstrate that the human Elongator facilitates transcription by RNA polymerase II in a chromatin- and acetyl-CoA-dependent manner. The complex was found to directly interact with RNA polymerase II but failed to interact with other factors that facilitated RNA polymerase II to traverse through nucleosomes. From our results, we postulate that different mechanisms operate to ensure efficient transcription by RNA polymerase II on chromatin templates.

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