Structural Basis of Transcription: An RNA Polymerase II-TFIIB Cocrystal at 4.5 Angstroms

David A. Bushnell, Kenneth D. Westover, Ralph E. Davis, Roger D. Kornberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

273 Scopus citations


The structure of the general transcription factor IIB (TFIIB) in a complex with RNA polymerase II reveals three features crucial for transcription initiation: an N-terminal zinc ribbon domain of TFIIB that contacts the "dock" domain of the polymerase, near the path of RNA exit from a transcribing enzyme; a "finger" domain of TFIIB that is inserted into the polymerase active center; and a C-terminal domain, whose interaction with both the polymerase and with a TATA box-binding protein (TBP)-promoter DNA complex orients the DNA for unwinding and transcription. TFIIB stabilizes an early initiation complex, containing an incomplete RNA-DNA hybrid region. It may interact with the template strand, which sets the location of the transcription start site, and may interfere with RNA exit, which leads to abortive initiation or promoter escape. The trajectory-of promoter DNA determined by the C-terminal domain of TFIIB traverses sites of interaction with TFIIE, TFIIF, and TFIIH, serving to define their roles in the transcription initiation process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)983-988
Number of pages6
Issue number5660
StatePublished - Feb 13 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Structural Basis of Transcription: An RNA Polymerase II-TFIIB Cocrystal at 4.5 Angstroms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this