Transcription factor IIIA (TFIIIA) activates 5S ribosomal RNA gene transcription in eukaryotes. The protein from vertebrates has nine contiguous Cys2His2 zinc fingers which function in nucleic acid binding, and a C-terminal region involved in transcription activation. In order to identify protein partners for TFIIIA, yeast two-hybrid screens were performed using the C-terminal region of Xenopus TFIIIA as an attractor and a rat cDNA library as a source of potential partners. A cDNA clone was identified which produced a protein in yeast that interacted with Xenopus TFIIIA but not with yeast TFIIIA. This rat clone was sequenced and the primary structure of the human homolog (termed TFIIIA-intP for TFIIIA-interacting protein) was determined from expressed sequence tags. In vitro interaction of recombinant human TFIIIA-intP with recombinant Xenopus TFIIIA was demonstrated by immunoprecipitation of the complex using anti-TFIIIA-intP antibody. Interaction of rat TFIIIA with rat TFIIIA-intP was indicated by co-chromatography of the two proteins on DEAE-5PW following fractionation of a rat liver extract on cation, anion and gel filtration resins. In a HeLa cell nuclear extract, recombinant TFIIIA-intP was able to stimulate TFIIIA-dependent transcription of the Xenopus SS ribosomal RNA gene but not TFIIIA-independent transcription of the human adenovirus VA RNA gene.
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