The 21-subunit Mediator complex transduces regulatory information from enhancers to promoters, and performs an essential role in the initiation of transcription in all eukaryotes. Structural information on two-thirds of the complex has been limited to coarse subunit mapping onto 2-D images from electron micrographs. We have performed chemical cross-linking and mass spectrometry, and combined the results with information from X-ray crystallography, homology modeling, and cryo-electron microscopy by an integrative modeling approach to determine a 3-D model of the entire Mediator complex. The approach is validated by the use of X-ray crystal structures as internal controls and by consistency with previous results from electron microscopy and yeast two-hybrid screens. The model shows the locations and orientations of all Mediator subunits, as well as subunit interfaces and some secondary structural elements. Segments of 20-40 amino acid residues are placed with an average precision of 20 Å. The model reveals roles of individual subunits in the organization of the complex.
Keywords: RNA polymerase II; S. cerevisiae; biophysics; cross-linking; mass spectrometry; modeling; structural biology; transcriptional regulation.