Reference: Dieci G, et al. (2000) TFIIIC-independent in vitro transcription of yeast tRNA genes. J Mol Biol 299(3):601-13

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Abstract


The most peculiar transcriptional property of eukaryotic tRNA genes, as well as of other genes served by RNA polymerase III, is their complete dependence on the intragenic interaction platform provided by transcription factor IIIC (TFIIIC) for the productive assembly of the TBP-containing initiation factor TFIIIB. The sole exception, in yeast, is the U6 RNA gene, which is able to exploit a TATAAATA element, 30 bp upstream of the transcription start site, for the TFIIIC-independent assembly of TFIIIB. To find out whether this extragenic core promoter organization and autonomous TFIIIB assembly capacity are unique features of the U6 gene or also apply to other genes transcribed by RNA polymerase III, we scanned the 5'-flanking regions (up to position -100) of the entire tRNA gene set of Saccharomyces cerevisiae searching for U6-like TATA motifs. Four tRNA genes harboring such a sequence motif around position -30 were identified and found to be transcribed in vitro by a minimal system only composed of TFIIIB and RNA polymerase III. In this system, start site selection is not at all affected by the absence of TFIIIC, which, when added, significantly stimulates transcription by determining an increase in the number, rather than in the efficiency of utilization, of productive initiation complexes. A specific TBP-TATA element interaction is absolutely required for TFIIIC-independent transcription, but the nearby sequence context also contributes to the efficiency of autonomous TFIIIB assembly. The existence of a TFIIIB assembly pathway leading to the faithful transcription of natural eukaryotic tRNA genes in the absence of TFIIIC provides novel insights into the functional flexibility of the eukaryotic tRNA gene transcription machinery and on its evolution from an ancestral RNA polymerase III system relying on upstream, TATA- centered control elements.CI - Copyright 2000 Academic Press.

Reference Type
Journal Article
Authors
Dieci G, Percudani R, Giuliodori S, Bottarelli L, Ottonello S
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