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Mol Cell Biol. 1998 Jan;18(1):1-9.

Tau91, an essential subunit of yeast transcription factor IIIC, cooperates with tau138 in DNA binding.

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Service de Biochemie et de Génétique Moléculaire, CEA/Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, France.


Transcription factor IIIC (TFIIIC) (or tau) is a large multisubunit and multifunctional factor required for transcription of all class III genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is responsible for promoter recognition and TFIIIB assembly. We report here the cloning and characterization of TFC6, an essential gene encoding the 91-kDa polypeptide, tau91, present in affinity-purified TFIIIC. Tau91 has a predicted molecular mass of 74 kDa. It harbors a central cluster of His and Cys residues and has basic and acidic amino acid regions, but it shows no specific similarity to known proteins or predicted open reading frames. The TFIIIC subunit status of tau91 was established by the following biochemical and genetic evidence. Antibodies to tau91 bound TFIIIC-DNA complexes in gel shift assays; in vivo, a B block-deficient U6 RNA gene (SNR6) harboring GAL4 binding sites was reactivated by fusing the GAL4 DNA binding domain to tau91; and a point mutation in TFC6 (tau91-E330K) was found to suppress the thermosensitive phenotype of a tfc3-G349E mutant affected in the B block binding subunit (tau138). The suppressor mutation alleviated the DNA binding and transcription defects of mutant TFIIIC in vitro. These results indicated that tau91 cooperates with tau138 for DNA binding. Recombinant tau91 by itself did not interact with a tRNA gene, although it showed a strong affinity for single-stranded DNA.

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