Function of TAF(II)-containing complex without TBP in transcription by RNA polymerase II

Nature. 1998 May 14;393(6681):187-91. doi: 10.1038/30283.


Initiation of transcription of a gene from a core promoter region by RNA polymerase II requires the assembly of several initiation factors to form a preinitiation complex. Assembly of this complex is thought to be nucleated exclusively by the sequence-specific binding of the TFIID transcription factor complex, which is composed of the TATA-binding protein (TBP) and TBP-associated factors (TAF(II)s), to the different promoters. Here we isolate and characterize a new multiprotein complex that does not contain either TBP or a TBP-like factor but is composed of several TAF(II)s and other proteins. This complex can replace TFIID on both TATA-containing and TATA-lacking promoters in in vitro transcription assays. Moreover, an anti-TBP antibody that inhibits TBP- and TFIID-dependent transcription does not inhibit activity of this new complex. These results indicate that TBP-free RNA polymerase II mediated transcription may be able to occur in mammalian cells and that multiple preinitiation complexes may play an important role in regulating gene expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA Footprinting
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • RNA Polymerase II / metabolism*
  • TATA-Binding Protein Associated Factors*
  • TATA-Box Binding Protein
  • Transcription Factor TFIID
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors, TFII / physiology*
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Transcriptional Activation


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • TAF10 protein, human
  • TATA-Binding Protein Associated Factors
  • TATA-Box Binding Protein
  • Transcription Factor TFIID
  • Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factors, TFII
  • RNA Polymerase II