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We incorporated the non-natural photoreactive amino acid p-benzoyl-L-phenylalanine (Bpa) into the RNA polymerase II (Pol II) surface surrounding the central cleft formed by the Rpb1 and Rpb2 subunits. Photo-cross-linking of preinitiation complexes (PICs) with these Pol II derivatives and hydroxyl-radical cleavage assays revealed that the TFIIF dimerization domain interacts with the Rpb2 lobe and protrusion domains adjacent to Rpb9, while TFIIE cross-links to the Rpb1 clamp domain on the opposite side of the Pol II central cleft. Mutations in the Rpb2 lobe and protrusion domains alter both Pol II-TFIIF binding and the transcription start site, a phenotype associated with mutations in TFIIF, Rpb9 and TFIIB. Together with previous biochemical and structural studies, these findings illuminate the structural organization of the PIC and the network of protein-protein interactions involved in transcription start site selection.


Hung-Ta Chen, Linda Warfield, Steven Hahn. The positions of TFIIF and TFIIE in the RNA polymerase II transcription preinitiation complex. Nature structural & molecular biology. 2007 Aug;14(8):696-703

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PMID: 17632521

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