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Curr Biol. 2010 Mar 23;20(6):548-53. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.01.052. Epub 2010 Mar 11.

Phosphorylation of TFIIB links transcription initiation and termination.

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  • 1Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M139PT, UK.


The general transcription factor TFIIB plays a central role in preinitiation complex (PIC) assembly and the recruitment of RNA polymerase II (RNA pol II) to the promoter. Recent studies have revealed that TFIIB engages in contact with the transcription termination region and also with complexes that are involved in 3' end processing and/or termination. Here we report that TFIIB can be phosphorylated within the N terminus at serine 65 in vivo and that the phosphorylated form of TFIIB is present within (PICs). Surprisingly, TFIIB serine 65 phosphorylation is required after the phosphorylation of serine 5 of RNA pol II C-terminal domain (CTD) has occurred, but before productive transcription initiation begins. We show that phosphorylation of TFIIB at serine 65 regulates the interaction between TFIIB and the CstF-64 component of the CstF 3' cleavage and polyadenylation complex. This directs the recruitment of CstF (cleavage stimulatory factor) to the terminator and also the recruitment of the CstF and CPSF (cleavage and polyadenylation specific factor) complexes to the promoter. Our results reveal that phosphorylation of TFIIB is a critical event in transcription that links the gene promoter and terminator and triggers initiation by RNA pol II.

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