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Molecular Cloning of the Transcription Factor TFIIB Homolog from Sulfolobus shibatae

Sohail A. Qureshi, Bernard Khoo, Peter Baumann and Stephen P. Jackson
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 92, No. 13 (Jun. 20, 1995), pp. 6077-6081
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2367972
Page Count: 5
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Molecular Cloning of the Transcription Factor TFIIB Homolog from Sulfolobus shibatae
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Abstract

The Archaea (archaebacteria) constitute a group of prokaryotes that are phylogenetically distinct from Eucarya (eukaryotes) and Bacteria (eubacteria). Although Archaea possess only one RNA polymerase, evidence suggests that their transcriptional apparatus is similar to that of Eucarya. For example, Archaea contain a homolog of the TATA-binding protein which interacts with the TATA-box like A-box sequence upstream of many archaeal genes. Here, we report the cloning of a Sulfolobus shibatae gene that encodes a protein (transcription factor TFB) with striking homology to the eukaryotic basal transcription factor TFIIB. We show by primer extension analysis that transcription of the S. shibatae TFB gene initiates 27 bp downstream from a consensus A-box element. Significantly, S. shibatae TFB contains an N-terminal putative metal-binding region and two imperfect direct repeats-structural features that are well conserved in eukaryotic TFIIBs. This suggests that TFB may perform analogous functions in Archaea and Eucarya. Consistent with this, we demonstrate that S. shibatae TFB promotes the binding of S. shibatae TBP to the A-box element of the Sulfolobus 16S/23S rRNA gene. Finally, we show that S. shibatae TFB is significantly more related to TFB of the archaeon Pyrococcus woesei than it is to eukaryotic TFIIBs. These data suggest that TFB arose in the common archaeal/eukaryotic ancestor and that the lineages leading to P. woesei and S. shibatae separated after the divergence of the archaeal and eukaryotic lines of descent.

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