Multiple sets of basal factors initiate transcription by RNA polymerase II

Jeffrey D. Parvin, Benjamin M. Shykind, Rachel E. Meyers, Jaesang Kim, Phillip A. Sharp

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81 Scopus citations


The minimal requirements for transcription initiation from supercoiled templates were determined for the two major forms of TATA-binding factors found in cell extracts, the 300-kDa B-TFIID and the 1000-kDa D-TFIID complexes. As had been observed for the TATA-binding protein (TBP) subunit (Parvin and Sharp, 1993), transcription from the IgH promoter minimally requires TFIID activity plus TFIIB and RNA polymerase II. This minimal reaction is only active on negatively supercoiled template DNA. In contrast, the supercoiled templates encoding the adenovirus major late promoter (MLP), or several other promoters, require the addition of TFIIF to the minimal reaction. Further addition of TFIIE and TFIIH boosts the level of transcription from these latter promoters but is not required. In contrast to the complete reaction on linear template, transcription from supercoiled IgH or MLP templates does not require the hydrolysis of the β-γ bond of ATP. Fourteen different core promoters were compared in complete and minimal basal transcription reactions reconstituted with one of the three TATA activities: TBP, B-TFIID, and D-TFIID. Of these 14 promoters, only the IgH was active in the absence of TFIIF, and the other promoters demonstrated different levels of transcription depending on which basal factors were present in reaction. It is proposed that a significant level of basal transcription only requires a minimal set of factors, and stimulation by upstream activators may in part be mediated by the inclusion of additional basal factors into the initiation reaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18414-18421
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number28
StatePublished - 15 Jul 1994


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