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Gene Review

RPB4  -  DNA-directed RNA polymerase II subunit RPB4

Saccharomyces cerevisiae S288c

Synonyms: B32, DNA-directed RNA polymerase II 32 kDa polypeptide, J0654, RNA polymerase II subunit B4, YJL140W
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Disease relevance of RPB4

  • The central 100 amino acids of the RPB4 protein were found to be similar to a segment of the major sigma subunit in Escherichia coli RNA polymerase [1].

High impact information on RPB4

  • We propose that Rpb4p has a dual function in mRNA decay [2].
  • We have determined the crystal structure of the complex between the Methanococcus jannaschii subunits E and F, the archaeal homologs of RPB7 and RPB4 [3].
  • Rpb4 and Rpb9 mediate subpathways of transcription-coupled DNA repair in Saccharomyces cerevisiae [4].
  • RNA polymerase (Pol) II consists of a 10-polypeptide catalytic core and the two-subunit Rpb4/7 complex that is required for transcription initiation [5].
  • Sequence analysis and molecular modeling indicated that the C17/C25 heterodimer likely adopts a structure similar to that of the archaeal RpoE/RpoF counterpart of the Rpb4/Rpb7 complex [6].

Biological context of RPB4

  • We have also shown here that transcriptional activation by artificial recruitment of the TATA-binding protein (TBP) to the promoter is also defective in the absence of RPB4 [7].
  • The same motif is also seen in the structure of the F subunit, suggesting a structural link between A14 and the RPB4/C17/subunit F family, even in the absence of direct sequence homology [8].
  • To examine this hypothesis, we used two-dimensional gel electrophoresis to analyze the protein expression pattern of the rpb4 null mutant in response to heat shock, oxidative stress, osmotic stress, and in the post-diauxic phase [9].
  • The RPB4 subunit, although not essential for mRNA synthesis or enzyme assembly, was essential for normal levels of RNA polymerase II activity and indispensable for cell viability over a wide temperature range [1].
  • The RPB4 gene was cloned and sequenced, and its identity was confirmed by amino acid sequence analysis of tryptic peptides from the purified subunit [1].

Anatomical context of RPB4


Associations of RPB4 with chemical compounds

  • We also constructed an S. pombe thiamine-dependent rpb4 shut-off system [11].
  • Furthermore, by chemical cross-linking, glutathione S-transferase pulldown, and affinity chromatography, the Fcp1-interacting subunit of pol II was identified as Rpb4, which plays regulatory roles in transcription [11].
  • We found that genes involved in galactose metabolism were dependent on the presence of Rpb4 irrespective of the environmental condition [12].
  • Wild type enzyme devoid of B32 and B16.5 subunits can be obtained after a mild urea treatment [13].
  • Sucrose gradient and immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated that Rpb4 is present in the cell in excess over the Pol II complex during all growth phases [14].

Other interactions of RPB4

  • Whereas RPB7 is essential, RPB4 is dispensable for cellular viability [9].
  • However, whereas the levels of several mRNAs are similarly reduced (by about 30%) in rpb4 mutants grown in rich medium at moderate temperature, some transcripts, in particular ZDS1, are more abundant [10].
  • The Saccharomyces cerevisiae RPB4 gene is tightly linked to the TIF2 gene [15].
  • RPB4 encodes the fourth-largest RNA polymerase II subunit in Saccharomyces cerevisiae [1].
  • This result indicates the importance of Fcp1-Rpb4 interaction for formation of the Fcp1/TFIIF/pol II complex in vivo [11].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of RPB4

  • In SDS-PAGE, AtRPB15.9 migrated as the seventh or eighth largest subunit (i.e. apparent molecular mass of 14-15 kDa) in Arabidopsis RNA polymerase II, whereas RPB4 migrates as the fourth largest subunit (i.e. apparent molecular mass of 32 kDa) in yeast RNA polymerase II [16].


  1. RNA polymerase II subunit RPB4 is essential for high- and low-temperature yeast cell growth. Woychik, N.A., Young, R.A. Mol. Cell. Biol. (1989) [Pubmed]
  2. The RNA polymerase II subunit Rpb4p mediates decay of a specific class of mRNAs. Lotan, R., Bar-On, V.G., Harel-Sharvit, L., Duek, L., Melamed, D., Choder, M. Genes Dev. (2005) [Pubmed]
  3. Structure of an archaeal homolog of the eukaryotic RNA polymerase II RPB4/RPB7 complex. Todone, F., Brick, P., Werner, F., Weinzierl, R.O., Onesti, S. Mol. Cell (2001) [Pubmed]
  4. Rpb4 and Rpb9 mediate subpathways of transcription-coupled DNA repair in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Li, S., Smerdon, M.J. EMBO J. (2002) [Pubmed]
  5. Architecture of initiation-competent 12-subunit RNA polymerase II. Armache, K.J., Kettenberger, H., Cramer, P. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2003) [Pubmed]
  6. An Rpb4/Rpb7-like complex in yeast RNA polymerase III contains the orthologue of mammalian CGRP-RCP. Siaut, M., Zaros, C., Levivier, E., Ferri, M.L., Court, M., Werner, M., Callebaut, I., Thuriaux, P., Sentenac, A., Conesa, C. Mol. Cell. Biol. (2003) [Pubmed]
  7. Rpb4, a non-essential subunit of core RNA polymerase II of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is important for activated transcription of a subset of genes. Pillai, B., Sampath, V., Sharma, N., Sadhale, P. J. Biol. Chem. (2001) [Pubmed]
  8. Structural and functional homology between the RNAP(I) subunits A14/A43 and the archaeal RNAP subunits E/F. Meka, H., Daoust, G., Arnvig, K.B., Werner, F., Brick, P., Onesti, S. Nucleic Acids Res. (2003) [Pubmed]
  9. Rpb4p is necessary for RNA polymerase II activity at high temperature. Maillet, I., Buhler, J.M., Sentenac, A., Labarre, J. J. Biol. Chem. (1999) [Pubmed]
  10. Multiple cellular processes affected by the absence of the Rpb4 subunit of RNA polymerase II contribute to the deficiency in the stress response of the yeast rpb4(delta) mutant. Bourbonnais, Y., Faucher, N., Pallotta, D., Larouche, C. Mol. Gen. Genet. (2001) [Pubmed]
  11. Formation of a carboxy-terminal domain phosphatase (Fcp1)/TFIIF/RNA polymerase II (pol II) complex in Schizosaccharomyces pombe involves direct interaction between Fcp1 and the Rpb4 subunit of pol II. Kimura, M., Suzuki, H., Ishihama, A. Mol. Cell. Biol. (2002) [Pubmed]
  12. Whole genome expression profiles of yeast RNA polymerase II core subunit, Rpb4, in stress and nonstress conditions. Pillai, B., Verma, J., Abraham, A., Francis, P., Kumar, Y., Tatu, U., Brahmachari, S.K., Sadhale, P.P. J. Biol. Chem. (2003) [Pubmed]
  13. A mutation of the B220 subunit gene affects the structural and functional properties of yeast RNA polymerase B in vitro. Ruet, A., Sentenac, A., Fromageot, P., Winsor, B., Lacroute, F. J. Biol. Chem. (1980) [Pubmed]
  14. Rpb4, a subunit of RNA polymerase II, enables the enzyme to transcribe at temperature extremes in vitro. Rosenheck, S., Choder, M. J. Bacteriol. (1998) [Pubmed]
  15. The Saccharomyces cerevisiae RPB4 gene is tightly linked to the TIF2 gene. Foreman, P.K., Davis, R.W., Sachs, A.B. Nucleic Acids Res. (1991) [Pubmed]
  16. Two small subunits in Arabidopsis RNA polymerase II are related to yeast RPB4 and RPB7 and interact with one another. Larkin, R.M., Guilfoyle, T.J. J. Biol. Chem. (1998) [Pubmed]
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