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Nature. 1994 May 19;369(6477):252-5.

Effects of activation-defective TBP mutations on transcription initiation in yeast.

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


Transcription initiation by RNA polymerase II is effected by an ordered series of general factor interactions with core promoter elements (leading to basal activity) and further regulated by gene-specific factors acting from distal elements. Both the general factor TFIID (refs 2,3), including the constituent TBP (TATA-binding polypeptide) and associated factors, and the interacting factor TFIIB (refs 9-11) have been implicated as targets for various activators. Towards an understanding of the basis for activator function, including the multiplicity of TBP interactions, we have now identified mutations in yeast TBP that selectively block activator (GAL4-VP16)-dependent but not basal transcription. We further show an effect of GAL4-VP16 on TFIIB recruitment to early preinitiation complexes, and that recruitment is disrupted by TBP mutations that impair its interactions with VP16 (L114K), TFIIB (L189K) or an unidentified component (K211L). Thus, GAL4-VP16 function seems to involve both direct interactions with TBP and a corresponding induction (or stabilization) of an activation-specific TBP-TFIIB-promoter complex.

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