Molecular basis of transcription initiation in Archaea.
ABSTRACT: Compared with eukaryotes, the archaeal transcription initiation machinery-commonly known as the Pre-Initiation Complex-is relatively simple. The archaeal PIC consists of the TFIIB ortholog TFB, TBP, and an 11-subunit RNA polymerase (RNAP). The relatively small size of the entire archaeal PIC makes it amenable to structural analysis. Using purified RNAP, TFB, and TBP from the thermophile Pyrococcus furiosus, we assembled the biochemically active PIC at 65ºC. The intact archaeal PIC was isolated by implementing a cross-linking technique followed by size-exclusion chromatography, and the structure of this 440 kDa assembly was determined using electron microscopy and single-particle reconstruction techniques. Combining difference maps with crystal structure docking of various sub-domains, TBP and TFB were localized within the macromolecular PIC. TBP/TFB assemble near the large RpoB subunit and the RpoD/L "foot" domain behind the RNAP central cleft. This location mimics that of yeast TBP and TFIIB in complex with yeast RNAP II. Collectively, these results define the structural organization of the archaeal transcription machinery and suggest a conserved core PIC architecture.
Project description:Transcription from many archaeal promoters can be reconstituted in vitro using recombinant TATA-box binding protein (TBP) and transcription factor B (TFB)--homologues of eukaryal TBP and TFIIB--together with purified RNA polymerase (RNAP). However, all archaeal genomes sequenced to date reveal the presence of TFE, a homologue of the alpha-subunit of the eukaryal general transcription factor, TFIIE. We show that, while TFE is not absolutely required for transcription in the reconstituted in vitro system, it nonetheless plays a stimulatory role on some promoters and under certain conditions. Mutagenesis of the TATA box or reduction of TBP concentration in transcription reactions sensitizes a promoter to TFE addition. Conversely, saturating reactions with TBP de-sensitizes promoters to TFE. These results suggest that TFE facilitates or stabilizes interactions between TBP and the TATA box.
Project description:Transcription initiation by archaeal RNA polymerase (RNAP) and eukaryotic RNAP II requires the general transcription factor (TF) B/ IIB. Structural analyses of eukaryotic transcription initiation complexes locate the B-reader domain of TFIIB in close proximity to the active site of RNAP II. Here, we present the first crosslinking mapping data that describe the dynamic transitions of an archaeal TFB to provide evidence for structural rearrangements within the transcription complex during transition from initiation to early elongation phase of transcription. Using a highly specific UV-inducible crosslinking system based on the unnatural amino acid para-benzoyl-phenylalanine allowed us to analyze contacts of the Pyrococcus furiosus TFB B-reader domain with site-specific radiolabeled DNA templates in preinitiation and initially transcribing complexes. Crosslink reactions at different initiation steps demonstrate interactions of TFB with DNA at registers +6 to +14, and reduced contacts at +15, with structural transitions of the B-reader domain detected at register +10. Our data suggest that the B-reader domain of TFB interacts with nascent RNA at register +6 and +8 and it is displaced from the transcribed-strand during the transition from +9 to +10, followed by the collapse of the transcription bubble and release of TFB from register +15 onwards.
Project description:The transcription apparatus in Archaea can be described as a simplified version of its eukaryotic RNA polymerase (RNAP) II counterpart, comprising an RNAPII-like enzyme as well as two general transcription factors, the TATA-binding protein (TBP) and the eukaryotic TFIIB orthologue TFB. It has been widely understood that precise comparisons of cellular RNAP crystal structures could reveal structural elements common to all enzymes and that these insights would be useful in analysing components of each enzyme that enable it to perform domain-specific gene expression. However, the structure of archaeal RNAP has been limited to individual subunits. Here we report the first crystal structure of the archaeal RNAP from Sulfolobus solfataricus at 3.4 A resolution, completing the suite of multi-subunit RNAP structures from all three domains of life. We also report the high-resolution (at 1.76 A) crystal structure of the D/L subcomplex of archaeal RNAP and provide the first experimental evidence of any RNAP possessing an iron-sulphur (Fe-S) cluster, which may play a structural role in a key subunit of RNAP assembly. The striking structural similarity between archaeal RNAP and eukaryotic RNAPII highlights the simpler archaeal RNAP as an ideal model system for dissecting the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription.
Project description:TFIIE and the archaeal homolog TFE enhance DNA strand separation of eukaryotic RNAPII and the archaeal RNAP during transcription initiation by an unknown mechanism. We have developed a fluorescently labeled recombinant M. jannaschii RNAP system to probe the archaeal transcription initiation complex, consisting of promoter DNA, TBP, TFB, TFE, and RNAP. We have localized the position of the TFE winged helix (WH) and Zinc ribbon (ZR) domains on the RNAP using single-molecule FRET. The interaction sites of the TFE WH domain and the transcription elongation factor Spt4/5 overlap, and both factors compete for RNAP binding. Binding of Spt4/5 to RNAP represses promoter-directed transcription in the absence of TFE, which alleviates this effect by displacing Spt4/5 from RNAP. During elongation, Spt4/5 can displace TFE from the RNAP elongation complex and stimulate processivity. Our results identify the RNAP "clamp" region as a regulatory hot spot for both transcription initiation and transcription elongation.
Project description:The molecular architecture of RNAP II-like transcription initiation complexes remains opaque due to its conformational flexibility and size. Here we report the three-dimensional architecture of the complete open complex (OC) composed of the promoter DNA, TATA box-binding protein (TBP), transcription factor B (TFB), transcription factor E (TFE) and the 12-subunit RNA polymerase (RNAP) from Methanocaldococcus jannaschii. By combining single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer and the Bayesian parameter estimation-based Nano-Positioning System analysis, we model the entire archaeal OC, which elucidates the path of the non-template DNA (ntDNA) strand and interaction sites of the transcription factors with the RNAP. Compared with models of the eukaryotic OC, the TATA DNA region with TBP and TFB is positioned closer to the surface of the RNAP, likely providing the mechanism by which DNA melting can occur in a minimal factor configuration, without the dedicated translocase/helicase encoding factor TFIIH.
Project description:During transcription initiation, the promoter DNA is recognized and bent by the basal transcription factor TATA-binding protein (TBP). Subsequent association of transcription factor B (TFB) with the TBP-DNA complex is followed by the recruitment of the ribonucleic acid polymerase resulting in the formation of the pre-initiation complex. TBP and TFB/TF(II)B are highly conserved in structure and function among the eukaryotic-archaeal domain but intriguingly have to operate under vastly different conditions. Employing single-pair fluorescence resonance energy transfer, we monitored DNA bending by eukaryotic and archaeal TBPs in the absence and presence of TFB in real-time. We observed that the lifetime of the TBP-DNA interaction differs significantly between the archaeal and eukaryotic system. We show that the eukaryotic DNA-TBP interaction is characterized by a linear, stepwise bending mechanism with an intermediate state distinguished by a distinct bending angle. TF(II)B specifically stabilizes the fully bent TBP-promoter DNA complex and we identify this step as a regulatory checkpoint. In contrast, the archaeal TBP-DNA interaction is extremely dynamic and TBP from the archaeal organism Sulfolobus acidocaldarius strictly requires TFB for DNA bending. Thus, we demonstrate that transcription initiation follows diverse pathways on the way to the formation of the pre-initiation complex.
Project description:Transcription by eukaryotic RNA polymerases (Pols) II and III and archaeal Pol requires structurally related general transcription factors TFIIB, Brf1, and TFB, respectively, which are essential for polymerase recruitment and initiation events. A TFIIB-like protein was not evident in the Pol I basal transcription machinery. We report that TAF1B, a subunit of human Pol I basal transcription factor SL1, is structurally related to TFIIB/TFIIB-like proteins, through predicted amino-terminal zinc ribbon and cyclin-like fold domains. SL1, essential for Pol I recruitment to the ribosomal RNA gene promoter, also has an essential postpolymerase recruitment role, operating through TAF1B. Therefore, a TFIIB-related protein is implicated in preinitiation complex assembly and postpolymerase recruitment events in Pol I transcription, underscoring the parallels between eukaryotic Pol I, II, and III and archaeal transcription machineries.
Project description:Recently the definition of the metazoan RNA polymerase II and archaeal core promoters has been expanded to include a region immediately upstream of the TATA box called the B recognition element (BRE), so named because eukaryal transcription factor TFIIB and its archaeal orthologue TFB interact with the element in a sequence-specific manner. Here we present the 2.4-A crystal structure of archaeal TBP and the C-terminal core of TFB (TFB(c)) in a complex with an extended TATA-box-containing promoter that provides a detailed picture of the stereospecific interactions between the BRE and a helix-turn-helix motif in the C-terminal cyclin repeat of TFB(c). This interaction is important in determining the level of basal transcription and explicitly defines the direction of transcription.
Project description:Transcription in Archaea is initiated by association of a TATA box binding protein (TBP) with a TATA box. This interaction is stabilized by the binding of the transcription factor IIB (TFIIB) orthologue TFB. We show here that the RNA polymerase of the archaeon Methanococcus, in contrast to polymerase II, does not require hydrolysis of the beta-gamma bond of ATP for initiation of transcription and open complex formation on linearized DNA. Permanganate probing revealed that the archaeal open complex spanned at least the DNA region from -11 to -1 at a tRNA(Val) promoter. The Methanococcus TBP-TFB promoter complex protected the DNA region from -40 to -14 on the noncoding DNA strand and the DNA segment from -36 to -17 on the coding DNA strand from DNase I digestion. This DNase I footprint was extended only to the downstream end by the addition of the RNA polymerase to position +17 on the noncoding strand and to position +13 on the coding DNA strand.
Project description:Structural comparisons of initiating RNA polymerase complexes and structure-based amino acid sequence alignments of general transcription initiation factors (eukaryotic TFIIB, archaeal TFB and bacterial ? factors) show that these proteins are homologs. TFIIB and TFB each have two-five-helix cyclin-like repeats (CLRs) that include a C-terminal helix-turn-helix (HTH) motif (CLR/HTH domains). Four homologous HTH motifs are present in bacterial ? factors that are relics of CLR/HTH domains. Sequence similarities clarify models for ? factor and TFB/TFIIB evolution and function and suggest models for promoter evolution. Commitment to alternate modes for transcription initiation appears to be a major driver of the divergence of bacteria and archaea.