A yeast TATA-binding protein mutant that selectively enhances gene expression from weak RNA polymerase II promoters.
We describe a unique gain-of-function mutant of the TATA-binding protein (TBP) subunit of Saccharomyces cerevisiae TFIID that, at least in part, renders transcriptional transactivators dispensable for efficient mRNA expression. The yTBPN69S mutant enhances transcription from weaker yeast promoter elements by up to 50-fold yet does not significantly increase gene expression directed by highly active promoters. Therefore, this TBP mutant and transcriptional transactivators appear to affect a common rate-limiting step in transcription initiation. Consistent with the hypothesis that this step is TFIID recruitment, tethering of TBP to a target promoter via a heterologous DNA binding domain, which is known to bypass the need for transcriptional transactivators, also nullifies the enhancing effect exerted by the N69S mutation. These data provide genetic support for the hypothesis that TFIID recruitment represents a rate-limiting step in the initiation of mRNA transcription that is specifically enhanced by transcriptional transactivators.
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