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Nature. 1988 Jul 7;334(6177):77-80.

A yeast activity can substitute for the HeLa cell TATA box factor.

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Laboratoire de Génétique Moléculaire des Eucaryotes du CNRS, Strasbourg, France.


Most class B (II) promoter regions from higher eukaryotes contain the TATA box and upstream and enhancer elements. Both the upstream and enhancer elements and their cognate factors have regulatory functions, whereas the TATA sequence interacts with the TATA box factor BTF1 to position RNA polymerase B and its ancillary initiation factors (STF, BTF2 and BTF3) to direct the initiation of transcription approximately 30 base pairs downstream. In many respects, class B promoter regions from the unicellular eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae are similarly organized, containing upstream activating sequences that bear many similarities to enhancers. Although they are essential for initiation, the yeast TATA sequences are located at variable distances and further from the start sites (40-120 base pairs), whose locations are primarily determined by an initiator element. The basic molecular mechanisms that control initiation of transcription are known to be conserved from yeast to man: the yeast transcriptional transactivator GAL4 can activate a minimal TATA box-containing promoter in human HeLa cells, and a human inducible enhancer factor, the oestrogen receptor, can activate a similar minimal promoter in yeast. This striking evolutionary conservation prompted us to look for the presence in yeast of an activity that could possibly substitute for the human TATA box factor. We report here the existence of such an activity in yeast extracts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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