Structural visualization of key steps in human transcription initiation

Yuan He, Jie Fang, Dylan J. Taatjes, Eva Nogales*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

173 Scopus citations

Abstract

Eukaryotic transcription initiation requires the assembly of general transcription factors into a pre-initiation complex that ensures the accurate loading of RNA polymerase II (Pol II) at the transcription start site. The molecular mechanism and function of this assembly have remained elusive due to lack of structural information. Here we have used an in vitro reconstituted system to study the stepwise assembly of human TBP, TFIIA, TFIIB, Pol II, TFIIF, TFIIE and TFIIH onto promoter DNA using cryo-electron microscopy. Our structural analyses provide pseudo-atomic models at various stages of transcription initiation that illuminate critical molecular interactions, including how TFIIF engages Pol II and promoter DNA to stabilize both the closed pre-initiation complex and the open-promoter complex, and to regulate start-initiation complexes, combined with the localization of the TFIIH helicases XPD and XPB, support a DNA translocation model of XPB and explain its essential role in promoter opening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-486
Number of pages6
JournalNature
Volume495
Issue number7442
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 28 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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