Requirement for transcription factor IIA (TFIIA)-TFIID recruitment by an activator depends on promoter structure and template competition

Paul M. Lieberman*, Josef Ozer, Demirkan B. Gürsel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Different mechanisms of transcriptional activation may be required for distinct classes of promoters and cellular conditions. The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-encoded transcriptional activator Zta recruits the general transcription factors IID (TFIID) and IIA (TFIIA) to promoter DNA and induces a TATA box-binding protein (TBP)-associated factor-dependent footprint downstream of the transcriptional initiation site. In this study, we investigated the functional significance of TFIID-TFIIA (D-A complex) recruitment by Zta. Alanine substitution mutations in the Zta activation domain which eliminate the ability of Zta to stimulate the D-A complex were examined. These Zta mutants were defective in the ability to activate transcription from an EBV-derived promoter (BHLF1) but activated a highly responsive synthetic promoter (Z7E4T). Both the number of activator binding sites and the core promoter region contribute to the requirement for D-A complex recruitment. These functionally distinct core promoters had significant differences in affinity for TBP and TFIID binding. The D-A complex-recruiting activity of Zta was found to be important for promoter selection in the presence of a competitor template. Conditions which limit TFIID binding to the TATA element or compromise the ability of TFIIA to bind TBP required activator stimulation of the D-A complex. These results indicate that D-A complex recruitment is one of at least two activation pathways utilized by Zta and is the essential pathway for a subset of promoters and conditions which limit TFIID binding to the TATA element.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6624-6632
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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