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EMBO J. 2002 Apr 2;21(7):1764-74.

The Paf1 complex physically and functionally associates with transcription elongation factors in vivo.

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Department of MCD Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA.


We are using biochemical and genetic approaches to study Rtf1 and the Spt4-Spt5 complex, which independently have been implicated in transcription elongation by RNA polymerase II. Here, we report a remarkable convergence of these studies. First, we purified Rtf1 and its associated yeast proteins. Combining this approach with genetic analysis, we show that Rtf1 and Leo1, a protein of unknown function, are members of the RNA polymerase II-associated Paf1 complex. Further analysis revealed allele-specific genetic interactions between Paf1 complex members, Spt4-Spt5, and Spt16-Pob3, the yeast counterpart of the human elongation factor FACT. In addition, we independently isolated paf1 and leo1 mutations in an unbiased genetic screen for suppressors of a cold-sensitive spt5 mutation. These genetic interactions are supported by physical interactions between the Paf1 complex, Spt4-Spt5 and Spt16-Pob3. Finally, we found that defects in the Paf1 complex cause sensitivity to 6-azauracil and diminished PUR5 induction, properties frequently associated with impaired transcription elongation. Taken together, these data suggest that the Paf1 complex functions during the elongation phase of transcription in conjunction with Spt4-Spt5 and Spt16-Pob3.

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