Recent insights into the structure of TFIID, its assembly, and its binding to core promoter

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2020 Apr;61:17-24. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2019 Nov 18.


TFIID is a large multiprotein assembly that serves as a general transcription factor for transcription initiation by eukaryotic RNA polymerase II (Pol II). TFIID is involved in the recognition of the core promoter sequences and neighboring chromatin marks, and can interact with gene-specific activators and repressors. In order to obtain a better molecular and mechanistic understanding of the function of TFIID, its structure has been pursued for many years. However, the scarcity of TFIID and its highly flexible nature have made this pursuit very challenging. Recent breakthroughs, largely due to methodological advances in cryo-electron microscopy, have finally described the structure of this complex, both alone and engaged with core promoter DNA, revealing the functional significance of its conformational complexity in the process of core promoter recognition and initiation of Pol II transcription. Here, we review these recent structural insights and discuss their implications for our understanding of eukaryotic transcription initiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Fungal Proteins / chemistry
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Molecular Docking Simulation*
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • TATA-Box Binding Protein / chemistry
  • TATA-Box Binding Protein / metabolism
  • Transcription Factor TFIID / chemistry*
  • Transcription Factor TFIID / metabolism


  • Fungal Proteins
  • TATA-Box Binding Protein
  • Transcription Factor TFIID