Mediator is a highly conserved transcriptional coactivator organized into four modules, namely Tail, Middle, Head, and Kinase (CKM). Previous work suggests regulatory roles for Tail and CKM, but an integrated model for these activities is lacking. Here, we analyzed the genome-wide distribution of Mediator subunits in wild-type and mutant yeast cells in which RNA polymerase II promoter escape is blocked, allowing detection of transient Mediator forms. We found that although all modules are recruited to upstream activated regions (UAS), assembly of Mediator within the pre-initiation complex is accompanied by the release of CKM. Interestingly, our data show that CKM regulates Mediator-UAS interaction rather than Mediator-promoter association. In addition, although Tail is required for Mediator recruitment to UAS, Tailless Mediator nevertheless interacts with core promoters. Collectively, our data suggest that the essential function of Mediator is mediated by Head and Middle at core promoters, while Tail and CKM play regulatory roles.
Keywords: Cdk8/Srb10; TFIIH/Kin28; kinase module; mediator; tail module.
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