Human mediator enhances activator-facilitated recruitment of RNA polymerase II and promoter recognition by TATA-binding protein (TBP) independently of TBP-associated factors

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Mediator is a general cofactor implicated in the functions of many transcriptional activators. Although Mediator with different protein compositions has been isolated, it remains unclear how Mediator facilitates activator-dependent transcription, independent of its general stimulation of basal transcription. To define the mechanisms of Mediator function, we isolated two forms of human Mediator complexes (Mediator-P.5 and Mediator-P.85) and demonstrated that Mediator-P.5 clearly functions by enhancing activator-mediated recruitment of RNA polymerase II (pol II), whereas Mediator-P.85 works mainly by stimulating overall basal transcription. The coactivator function of Mediator-P.5 was not impaired when TATA-binding protein (TBP) was used in place of TFIID, but it was abolished when another general cofactor, PC4, was omitted from the reaction or when Mediator-P.5 was added after pol II entry into the preinitiation complex. Moreover, Mediator-P.5 is able to enhance TBP binding to the TATA box in an activator-dependent manner. Our data provides biochemical evidence that Mediator functions by facilitating activator-mediated recruitment of pol II and also promoter recognition by TBP, both of which can occur in the absence of TBP-associated factors in TFIID.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6229-6242
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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