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EMBO J. 1998 Dec 15;17(24):7395-403.

Evidence that P-TEFb alleviates the negative effect of DSIF on RNA polymerase II-dependent transcription in vitro.

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Faculty of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 4259 Nagatsuta-cho, Midori-ku, Yokohama 226-8501, Japan.


Recently, a positive and a negative elongation factor, implicated in 5,6-dichloro-1-beta-D-ribofuranosylbenzimidazole (DRB) inhibition of transcription elongation, has been identified. P-TEFb is a positive transcription elongation factor and the DRB-sensitive kinase that phosphorylates the C-terminal domain (CTD) of the largest subunit of RNA polymerase II (Pol II). PITALRE, a member of the Cdc2 family of protein kinases, is the catalytic subunit of P-TEFb. DSIF is a human homolog of the yeast Spt4-Spt5 complex and renders elongation of transcription sensitive to DRB. DRB sensitivity-inducing factor (DSIF) binds to RNA Pol II and may directly regulate elongation. Here we show a functional interaction between P-TEFb and DSIF. The reduction of P-TEFb activity induced by either DRB, antibody against PITALRE, or immunodepletion resulted in a negative effect of DSIF on transcription. DSIF acts at an early phase of elongation, and the prior action of P-TEFb makes transcription resistant to DSIF. The state of phosphorylation of CTD determines the DSIF-RNA Pol II interaction, and may provide a direct link between P-TEFb and DSIF. Taken together, this study reveals a molecular basis for DRB action and suggests that P-TEFb stimulates elongation by alleviating the negative action of DSIF.

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