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J Biol Chem. 1998 Jun 5;273(23):14293-300.

Transcription factor IIA derepresses TATA-binding protein (TBP)-associated factor inhibition of TBP-DNA binding.

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  • 1The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


The interaction of the general transcription factor (TF) IIA with TFIID is required for transcription activation in vitro. TFIID consists of the TATA-binding protein (TBP) and TBP associated factors (TAFIIs). TFIIA binds directly to TBP and stabilizes its interaction with TATA-containing DNA. In this work, we present evidence that TAFIIs inhibit TBP-DNA and TBP-TFIIA binding, and that TFIIA stimulates transcription, in part, by overcoming this TAFII-mediated inhibition of TBP-DNA binding. TFIIA mutants modestly compromised for interaction with TBP were found to be significantly more defective in forming complexes with TFIID. Subtle changes in the stability or conformation of the TFIIA-TBP complex resulted in a failure of TFIIA to overcome TAFII-mediated inhibition of TBP-DNA binding and transcription function. Inhibition of TBP-DNA binding by TAFIIs could be partially relieved by limited proteolysis of TFIID. Proteolysis significantly stimulated TFIIA-TFIID-TATA binding in both electrophoresis mobility shift assay and DNase I footprinting but had little effect on complexes formed with TBP. Recombinant TAFII250 inhibits TBP-DNA binding, whereas preincubation of TFIIA with TBP prevents this inhibition. Thus, TFIIA competes with TAFII250 for access to TBP and alters the TATA binding properties of the resulting complex. Transcriptional activation by Zta was enhanced by temperature shift inactivation of TAFII250 in the ts13 cell line, suggesting that TAFII250 has transcriptional inhibitory activity in vivo. Together, these results suggest that TAFIIs may regulate transcription initiation by inhibiting TBP-TFIIA and TBP-DNA complex formation.

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