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Nature. 1996 Sep 12;383(6596):188-91.

TBP-associated factors are not generally required for transcriptional activation in yeast.

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Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


The transcription factor TFIID, a central component of the eukaryotic RNA polymerase II (Pol II) transcription apparatus, comprises the TATA-binding protein (TBP) and approximately ten TBP-associated factors (TAFs). Although the essential role of TBP in all eukaryotic transcription has been extensively analysed in vivo and in vitro, the function of the TAFs is less clear. In vitro, TAFs are dispensable for basal transcription but are required for the response to activators. In addition, specific TAFs may act as molecular bridges between particular activators and the general transcription machinery. In vivo, TAFS are required for yeast and mammalian cell growth, but little is known about their specific transcriptional functions. Using conditional alleles created by a new double-shutoff method, we show here that TAF depletion in yeast cells can reduce transcription from some promoters lacking conventional TATA elements. However, TAF depletion has surprisingly little effect on transcriptional enhancement by several activators, indicating that TAFs are not generally required for transcriptional activation in yeast.

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