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Nature. 1995 Mar 16;374(6519):280-2.

Association of Cdk-activating kinase subunits with transcription factor TFIIH.

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  • 1Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Nine Cambridge Center, Massachusetts 02142.


The RNA polymerase II large subunit contains an essential carboxy-terminal domain (CTD) believed to be involved in the response to regulators during transcription initiation. The CTD is phosphorylated on a portion of RNA polymerase II molecules in vivo and it can be phosphorylated by the general transcription factor TFIIH in vitro. A highly purified TFIIH from rat liver has been described; this, like human and yeast TFIIH, contains associated CTD kinase and helicase activities. We report here that two polypeptides of the purified mammalian TFIIH are the MO15/Cdk7 kinase and cyclin H subunits of the Cdk-activating kinase Cak, previously identified as a positive regulator of Cdc2 and Cdk2. TFIIH and Cak preparations are each capable of phosphorylating recombinant CTD and recombinant Cdk2 proteins. The presence of Cak in TFIIH indicates that Cak may have roles in transcriptional regulation and in cell-cycle control.

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