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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A Gal4-sigma 54 hybrid protein that functions as a potent activator of RNA polymerase II transcription in yeast.

The bacterial final sigma(54) protein associates with core RNA polymerase to form a holoenzyme complex that renders cognate promoters enhancer-dependent. Although unusual in bacteria, enhancer-dependent transcription is the paradigm in eukaryotes. Here we report that a fragment of Escherichia coli final sigma(54) encompassing amino acid residues 29-177 functions as a potent transcriptional activator in yeast when fused to a Gal4 DNA binding domain. Activation by Gal4-final sigma(54) is TATA-dependent and requires the SAGA coactivator complex, suggesting that Gal4-final sigma(54) functions by a normal mechanism of transcriptional activation. Surprisingly, deletion of the AHC1 gene, which encodes a polypeptide unique to the ADA coactivator complex, stimulates Gal4-final sigma(54)-mediated activation and enhances the toxicity of Gal4-final sigma(54). Accordingly, the SAGA and ADA complexes, both of which include Gcn5 as their histone acetyltransferase subunit, exert opposite effects on transcriptional activation by Gal4-final sigma(54). Gal4-final sigma(54) activation and toxicity are also dependent upon specific final sigma(54) residues that are required for activator-responsive promoter melting by final sigma(54) in bacteria, implying that activation is a consequence of final sigma(54)-specific features rather than a structurally fortuitous polypeptide fragment. As such, Gal4-final sigma(54) represents a novel tool with the potential to provide insight into the mechanism by which natural activators function in eukaryotic cells.[1]


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