TFIIH is a 10-subunit complex involved in transcription and DNA repair. It contains several enzymatic activities including a ATP-dependent DNA translocase in XPB and a cyclin-dependent kinase in CDK7. Recently the discovery of several XPB and CDK7 inhibitors with specific impact on the transcriptional addiction of many tumors pinpointed these activities as potential target in cancer chemotherapy. Unexpectedly a basal transcription factor involved in global mRNA expression now emerges a one of the most clinically promising Achilles heels of cancerous cells. These inhibitors also proved to be useful tools to unveil new functions of TFIIH in gene expression.
Keywords: DNA repair; TFIIH; genomic instability; helicase.