ELL family transcription factors activate the overall rate of RNA polymerase II (Pol II) transcription elongation by binding directly to Pol II and suppressing its tendency to pause. In metazoa, ELL regulates Pol II transcription elongation as part of a large multisubunit complex referred to as the Super Elongation Complex (SEC), which includes P-TEFb and EAF, AF9 or ENL, and an AFF family protein. Although orthologs of ELL and EAF have been identified in lower eukaryotes including Schizosaccharomyces pombe, it has been unclear whether SEC-like complexes function in lower eukaryotes. In this report, we describe isolation from S. pombe of an ELL-containing complex with features of a rudimentary SEC. This complex includes S. pombe Ell1, Eaf1, and a previously uncharacterized protein we designate Ell1 binding protein 1 (Ebp1), which is distantly related to metazoan AFF family members. Like the metazoan SEC, this S. pombe ELL complex appears to function broadly in Pol II transcription. Interestingly, it appears to have a particularly important role in regulating genes involved in cell separation.
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