DNA lesions that block transcription may cause cell death even when repaired, if transcription does not restart to reestablish cellular metabolism. However, transcription resumption after individual DNA-lesion repair remains poorly described in mechanistic terms and its players are largely unknown. The general transcription factor II H (TFIIH) is a major actor of both nucleotide excision repair subpathways of which transcription-coupled repair highlights the interplay between DNA repair and transcription. Using an unbiased proteomic approach, we have identified the protein eleven-nineteen lysine-rich leukemia (ELL) as a TFIIH partner. Here we show that ELL is recruited to UV-damaged chromatin in a Cdk7- dependent manner (a component of the cyclin-dependent activating kinase subcomplex of TFIIH). We demonstrate that depletion of ELL strongly hinders RNA polymerase II (RNA Pol II) transcription resumption after lesion removal and DNA gap filling. Lack of ELL was also observed to increase RNA Pol II retention to the chromatin during this process. Identifying ELL as an essential player for RNA Pol II restart during cellular DNA damage response opens the way to obtaining a mechanistic description of transcription resumption after DNA repair.
Keywords: CAK; Cockayne syndrome; LEC; TCR; elongation factor.