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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Jun 25;93(13):6488-93.

Human cyclin-dependent kinase-activating kinase exists in three distinct complexes.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Piscataway, 088854-5635, USA.


Transcription factor IIH (TFIIH) is a multisubunit complex required for transcription and for DNA nucleotide excision repair. TFIIH possesses three enzymatic activities: (i) an ATP-dependent DNA helicase, (ii) a DNA-dependent ATPase, and (iii) a kinase with specificity for the carboxyl-terminal domain of RNA polymerase II. The kinase activity was recently identified as the cdk (cyclin-dependent kinase) activating kinase, CAK, composed of cdk7, cyclin H, and MAT-1. Here we report the isolation and characterization of three distinct CAK-containing complexes from HeLa nuclear extracts: CAK, a novel CAK-ERCC2 complex, and TFIIH. CAK-ERCC2 can efficiently associate with core-TFIIH to reconstitute holo-TFIIH transcription activity. We present evidence proposing a critical role for ERCC2 in mediating the association of CAK with core TFIIH subunits.

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