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Nature. 1991 Nov 21;354(6350):245-8.

Cooperative interaction of an initiator-binding transcription initiation factor and the helix-loop-helix activator USF.

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Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Rockefeller University, New York, New York 10021.


Transcription initiation by mammalian RNA polymerase II is effected by multiple common factors interacting through minimal promoter elements and regulated by gene-specific factors interacting with distal control elements. Minimal promoter elements that can function independently or together, depending on the specific promoter, include the upstream TATA box and a pyrimidine-rich initiator (Inr) overlapping the transcription start site. The binding of TFIID to the TATA element promotes the assembly of other factors into a preinitiation complex but factors which function at the Inr have not been defined. We show here that a novel factor (TFII-I) binds specifically to Inr elements, supports basal transcription from the adenovirus major late promoter and is immunologically related to the helix-loop-helix activator USF. We further show that TFII-I also binds to the upstream high-affinity USF site (E box), that USF also binds to the Inr, and that TFII-I and USF interact cooperatively at both Inr and E box sites. Thus, TFII-I represents a novel type of transcription initiation factor whose interactions at multiple promoter elements may aid novel communication mechanisms between upstream regulatory factors and the general transcriptional machinery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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