Systematic mutagenesis of TFIIH subunit p52/Tfb2 identifies residues required for XPB/Ssl2 subunit function and genetic interactions with TFB6.

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The Journal of biological chemistry


washington; isb


TFIIH is an evolutionarily conserved complex that plays central roles in both RNA polymerase II (pol II) transcription and DNA repair. As an integral component of the pol II preinitiation complex, TFIIH regulates pol II enzyme activity in numerous ways. The TFIIH subunit XPB/Ssl2 is an ATP-dependent DNA translocase that stimulates promoter opening prior to transcription initiation. Crosslinking-mass spectrometry and cryo-EM results have shown a conserved interaction network involving XPB/Ssl2 and the C-terminal Hub region of the TFIIH p52/Tfb2 subunit, but the functional significance of specific residues is unclear. Here, we systematically mutagenized the HubA region of Tfb2 and screened for growth phenotypes in a TFB6 deletion background in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We identified six lethal and 12 conditional mutants. Slow growth phenotypes of all but three conditional mutants were relieved in the presence of TFB6, thus identifying a functional interaction between Tfb2 HubA mutants and Tfb6, a protein that dissociates Ssl2 from TFIIH. Our biochemical analysis of Tfb2 mutants with severe growth phenotypes revealed defects in Ssl2 association, with similar results in human cells. Further characterization of these tfb2 mutant cells revealed defects in GAL gene induction, and reduced occupancy of TFIIH and pol II at GAL gene promoters, suggesting that functionally competent TFIIH is required for proper pol II recruitment to preinitiation complexes in vivo. Consistent with recent structural models of TFIIH, our results identify key residues in the p52/Tfb2 HubA domain that are required for stable incorporation of XPB/Ssl2 into TFIIH and for pol II transcription.


Institute for Systems Biology