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EMBO J. 1994 Mar 1;13(5):1166-75.

The N-terminal domain of the human TATA-binding protein plays a role in transcription from TATA-containing RNA polymerase II and III promoters.

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LGME du CNRS, U 184 de l'INSERM, Faculté de Médecine, Strasbourg, France.


In eukaryotes, the TATA box binding protein (TBP) is an integral component of the transcription initiation complexes of all three classes of nuclear RNA polymerases. In this study we have investigated the role of the N-terminal region of human TBP in transcription initiation from RNA polymerase (Pol) I, II and III promoters by using three monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Each antibody recognizes a distinct epitope in the N-terminal domain of human TBP. We demonstrate that these antibodies differentially affect transcription from distinct classes of promoters. One antibody, mAb1C2, and a synthetic peptide comprising its epitope selectively inhibited in vitro transcription from TATA-containing, but not from TATA-less promoters, irrespective of whether they were transcribed by Pol II or Pol III. Transcription by Pol I, on the other hand, was not affected. Two other antibodies and their respective epitope peptides did not affect transcription from any of the promoters tested. Order of addition experiments indicate that mAb1C2 did not prevent binding of TBP to the TATA box or the formation of the TBP-TFIIA-TFIIB complex but rather inhibited a subsequent step of preinitiation complex formation. These data suggest that a defined region within the N-terminal domain of human TBP may be involved in specific protein-protein interactions required for the assembly of functional preinitiation complexes on TATA-containing, but not on TATA-less promoters.

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