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J Biol Chem. 1994 May 13;269(19):14323-8.

A role for the H4 subunit of vaccinia RNA polymerase in transcription initiation at a viral early promoter.

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1
Molecular Biology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, New York 10021.

Abstract

The vaccinia virus H4 gene encodes an essential subunit of the DNA-dependent RNA polymerase holoenzyme encapsidated within virus particles (Ahn, B., and Moss, B. (1992) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 89, 3536-3540; Kane, E. M., and Shuman, S. (1992) J. Virol. 66, 5752-5762). The role of this protein in transcription of viral early genes was revealed by the effects of affinity-purified anti-H4 antibody on discrete phases of the early transcription reaction in vitro. Anti-H4 specifically prevented the synthesis of a 21-nucleotide nascent RNA chain but had no impact on elongation of the 21-mer RNA by preassembled ternary complexes. Inhibition of initiation but not elongation was also observed with affinity-purified anti-D6 antibody directed against the 70-kDa subunit of the vaccinia early transcription initiation factor (ETF). Native gel mobility-shift assays showed that anti-H4 prevented the NTP-dependent recruitment of RNA polymerase to the preinitiation complex of ETF bound at the early promoter. Two species of ternary complexes could be resolved by native gel electrophoresis. Addition of anti-H4 to preformed complexes elicited a supershift of both ternary species but not of the preinitiation complex. Supeshift by anti-D6 revealed that the more rapidly migrating species of ternary complex did not contain immunoreactive ETF. Loss of ETF from the ternary complex was time-dependent. Thus, whereas the H4 protein was a stable constituent of the elongation complex, ETF was dissociable. We suggest that H4 functions as a molecular bridge to ETF and thereby allows specific recognition of early promoters by the core RNA polymerase. H4 is unlike bacterial sigma factor in that it remains bound to polymerase after the elongation complex is established.

PMID:
8188718
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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