Publications

2000
Tan, Q, Linask KL, Ebright RH, Woychik NA.  2000.  Activation mutants in yeast RNA polymerase II subunit RPB3 provide evidence for a structurally conserved surface required for activation in eukaryotes and bacteria.. Genes & development. 14(3):339-48. Abstract
We have identified a mutant in RPB3, the third-largest subunit of yeast RNA polymerase II, that is defective in activator-dependent transcription, but not defective in activator-independent, basal transcription. The mutant contains two amino-acid substitutions, C92R and A159G, that are both required for pronounced defects in activator-dependent transcription. Synthetic enhancement of phenotypes of C92R and A159G, and of several other pairs of substitutions, is consistent with a functional relationship between residues 92-95 and 159-161. Homology modeling of RPB3 on the basis of the crystallographic structure of alphaNTD indicates that residues 92-95 and 159-162 are likely to be adjacent within the structure of RPB3. In addition, homology modeling indicates that the location of residues 159-162 within RPB3 corresponds to the location of an activation target within alphaNTD (the target of activating region 2 of catabolite activator protein, an activation target involved in a protein-protein interaction that facilitates isomerization of the RNA polymerase promoter closed complex to the RNA polymerase promoter open complex). The apparent finding of a conserved surface required for activation in eukaryotes and bacteria raises the possibility of conserved mechanisms of activation in eukaryotes and bacteria.
Ebright, RH.  2000.  RNA polymerase: structural similarities between bacterial RNA polymerase and eukaryotic RNA polymerase II.. Journal of molecular biology. 304(5):687-98. Abstract
Bacterial RNA polymerase and eukaryotic RNA polymerase II exhibit striking structural similarities, including similarities in overall structure, relative positions of subunits, relative positions of functional determinants, and structures and folding topologies of subunits. These structural similarities are paralleled by similarities in mechanisms of interaction with DNA.
Meibom, KL, Kallipolitis BH, Ebright RH, Valentin-Hansen P.  2000.  Identification of the subunit of cAMP receptor protein (CRP) that functionally interacts with CytR in CRP-CytR-mediated transcriptional repression.. The Journal of biological chemistry. 275(16):11951-6. Abstract
At promoters of the Escherichia coli CytR regulon, the cAMP receptor protein (CRP) interacts with the repressor CytR to form transcriptionally inactive CRP-CytR-promoter or (CRP)(2)-CytR-promoter complexes. Here, using "oriented heterodimer" analysis, we show that only one subunit of the CRP dimer, the subunit proximal to CytR, functionally interacts with CytR in CRP-CytR-promoter and (CRP)(2)-CytR-promoter complexes. Our results provide information about the architecture of CRP-CytR-promoter and (CRP)(2)-CytR-promoter complexes and rule out the proposal that masking of activating region 2 of CRP is responsible for the transcriptional inactivity of the complexes.
Boyer, LA, Shao X, Ebright RH, Peterson CL.  2000.  Roles of the histone H2A-H2B dimers and the (H3-H4)(2) tetramer in nucleosome remodeling by the SWI-SNF complex.. The Journal of biological chemistry. 275(16):11545-52. Abstract
SWI-SNF is an ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complex required for expression of a number of yeast genes. Previous studies have suggested that SWI-SNF action may remove or rearrange the histone H2A-H2B dimers or induce a novel alteration in the histone octamer. Here, we have directly tested these and other models by quantifying the remodeling activity of SWI-SNF on arrays of (H3-H4)(2) tetramers, on nucleosomal arrays reconstituted with disulfide-linked histone H3, and on arrays reconstituted with histone H3 derivatives site-specifically modified at residue 110 with the fluorescent probe acetylethylenediamine-(1,5)-naphthol sulfonate. We find that SWI-SNF can remodel (H3-H4)(2) tetramers, although tetramers are poor substrates for SWI-SNF remodeling compared with nucleosomal arrays. SWI-SNF can also remodel nucleosomal arrays that harbor disulfide-linked (H3-H4)(2) tetramers, indicating that SWI-SNF action does not involve an obligatory disruption of the tetramer. Finally, we find that although the fluorescence emission intensity of acetylethylenediamine-(1,5)-naphthol sulfonate-modified histone H3 is sensitive to octamer structure, SWI-SNF action does not alter fluorescence emission intensity. These data suggest that perturbation of the histone octamer is not a requirement or a consequence of ATP-dependent nucleosome remodeling by SWI-SNF.
1999
Busby, S, Ebright RH.  1999.  Transcription activation by catabolite activator protein (CAP).. Journal of molecular biology. 293(2):199-213. Abstract
Transcription activation by Escherichia coli catabolite activator protein (CAP) at each of two classes of simple CAP-dependent promoters is understood in structural and mechanistic detail. At class I CAP-dependent promoters, CAP activates transcription from a DNA site located upstream of the DNA site for RNA polymerase holoenzyme (RNAP); at these promoters, transcription activation involves protein-protein interactions between CAP and the RNAP alpha subunit C-terminal domain that facilitate binding of RNAP to promoter DNA to form the RNAP-promoter closed complex. At class II CAP-dependent promoters, CAP activates transcription from a DNA site that overlaps the DNA site for RNAP; at these promoters, transcription activation involves both: (i) protein-protein interactions between CAP and RNAP alpha subunit C-terminal domain that facilitate binding of RNAP to promoter DNA to form the RNAP-promoter closed complex; and (ii) protein-protein interactions between CAP and RNAP alpha subunit N-terminal domain that facilitates isomerization of the RNAP-promoter closed complex to the RNAP-promoter open complex. Straightforward combination of the mechanisms for transcription activation at class I and class II CAP-dependent promoters permits synergistic transcription activation by multiple molecules of CAP, or by CAP and other activators. Interference with determinants of CAP or RNAP involved in transcription activation at class I and class II CAP-dependent promoters permits "anti-activation" by negative regulators. Basic features of transcription activation at class I and class II CAP-dependent promoters appear to be generalizable to other activators.
Harrison-McMonagle, P, Denissova N, Martínez-Hackert E, Ebright RH, Stock AM.  1999.  Orientation of OmpR monomers within an OmpR:DNA complex determined by DNA affinity cleaving.. Journal of molecular biology. 285(2):555-66. Abstract
Escherichia coli OmpR is a transcription factor that regulates the differential expression of the porin genes ompF and ompC. Phosphorylated OmpR binds as a dimer to a 20-bp region of DNA consisting of two tandemly arranged 10-bp half-sites. Expression of the ompF gene is achieved by the hierarchical occupation of three adjacent 20-bp binding sites, designated F1, F2, and F3 and a distally located site, F4. Despite genetic, biochemical, and structural studies, specific details of the interaction between phosphorylated OmpR and the DNA remain unknown. We have linked the DNA cleaving moiety o-phenanthroline-copper to eight different sites within the DNA binding domain of OmpR in order to determine the orientation of the two OmpR monomers in the OmpR:F1 complex. Five of the resulting conjugates exhibited DNA cleaving activity, and four of these yielded patterns that could be used to construct a model of the OmpR:F1 complex. We propose that OmpR binds asymmetrically to the F1 site as a tandemly arranged dimer with each monomer having its recognition helix in the major groove. The N-terminal end of the recognition helix is promoter-proximal and flanked by "wings" W1 and W2 positioned proximally and distally, respectively, to the transcription start site of ompF. We further propose that the C-terminal end of the recognition helix makes the most extensive contacts with DNA and predict bases within the F1 site that are sufficiently close to be contacted by the recognition helix.
Estrem, ST, Ross W, Gaal T, Chen ZW, Niu W, Ebright RH, Gourse RL.  1999.  Bacterial promoter architecture: subsite structure of UP elements and interactions with the carboxy-terminal domain of the RNA polymerase alpha subunit.. Genes & development. 13(16):2134-47. Abstract
We demonstrate here that the previously described bacterial promoter upstream element (UP element) consists of two distinct subsites, each of which, by itself, can bind the RNA polymerase holoenzyme alpha subunit carboxy-terminal domain (RNAP alphaCTD) and stimulate transcription. Using binding-site-selection experiments, we identify the consensus sequence for each subsite. The selected proximal subsites (positions -46 to -38; consensus 5'-AAAAAARNR-3') stimulate transcription up to 170-fold, and the selected distal subsites (positions -57 to -47; consensus 5'-AWWWWWTTTTT-3') stimulate transcription up to 16-fold. RNAP has subunit composition alpha(2)betabeta'sigma and thus contains two copies of alphaCTD. Experiments with RNAP derivatives containing only one copy of alphaCTD indicate, in contrast to a previous report, that the two alphaCTDs function interchangeably with respect to UP element recognition. Furthermore, function of the consensus proximal subsite requires only one copy of alphaCTD, whereas function of the consensus distal subsite requires both copies of alphaCTD. We propose that each subsite constitutes a binding site for a copy of alphaCTD, and that binding of an alphaCTD to the proximal subsite region (through specific interactions with a consensus proximal subsite or through nonspecific interactions with a nonconsensus proximal subsite) is a prerequisite for binding of the other alphaCTD to the distal subsite.
1998
Sullivan, SM, Horn PJ, Olson VA, Koop AH, Niu W, Ebright RH, Triezenberg SJ.  1998.  Mutational analysis of a transcriptional activation region of the VP16 protein of herpes simplex virus.. Nucleic acids research. 26(19):4487-96. Abstract
The VP16 protein of herpes simplex virus is a potent transcriptional activator of the viral immediate early genes. The transcriptional activation region of VP16 can be divided into two functional subregions, here designated VP16N (comprising amino acids 413-456) and VP16C (amino acids 450-490). Assays of VP16C mutants resulting from both random and alanine-scanning mutagenesis indicated that the sidechains of three phenylalanines (at positions 473, 475 and 479) and one acidic residue (glutamate 476) are important for transcriptional activation. Aromatic and bulky hydrophobic amino acids were effective substitutes for each of the three Phe residues, whereas replacement with smaller or polar amino acids resulted in loss of transcriptional function. In contrast, many changes were tolerated for Glu476, including bulky hydrophobic and basic amino acids, indicating that the negative charge at this position contributes little to the function of this subregion. Similar relative activities for most of the mutants were observed in yeast and in mammalian cells, indicating that the structural requirements for this activation region are comparable in these two species. These results reinforce the hypothesis that bulky hydrophobic residues, not acidic residues, are most critical for the activity of this 'acidic' transcriptional activation region.
Savery, NJ, Lloyd GS, Kainz M, Gaal T, Ross W, Ebright RH, Gourse RL, Busby SJ.  1998.  Transcription activation at Class II CRP-dependent promoters: identification of determinants in the C-terminal domain of the RNA polymerase alpha subunit.. The EMBO journal. 17(12):3439-47. Abstract
Many transcription factors, including the Escherichia coli cyclic AMP receptor protein (CRP), act by making direct contacts with RNA polymerase. At Class II CRP-dependent promoters, CRP activates transcription by making two such contacts: (i) an interaction with the RNA polymerase alpha subunit C-terminal domain (alphaCTD) that facilitates initial binding of RNA polymerase to promoter DNA; and (ii) an interaction with the RNA polymerase alpha subunit N-terminal domain that facilitates subsequent promoter opening. We have used random mutagenesis and alanine scanning to identify determinants within alphaCTD for transcription activation at a Class II CRP-dependent promoter. Our results indicate that Class II CRP-dependent transcription requires the side chains of residues 265, 271, 285-288 and 317. Residues 285-288 and 317 comprise a discrete 20x10 A surface on alphaCTD, and substitutions within this determinant reduce or eliminate cooperative interactions between alpha subunits and CRP, but do not affect DNA binding by alpha subunits. We propose that, in the ternary complex of RNA polymerase, CRP and a Class II CRP-dependent promoter, this determinant in alphaCTD interacts directly with CRP, and is distinct from and on the opposite face to the proposed determinant for alphaCTD-CRP interaction in Class I CRP-dependent transcription.
Lagrange, T, Kapanidis AN, Tang H, Reinberg D, Ebright RH.  1998.  New core promoter element in RNA polymerase II-dependent transcription: sequence-specific DNA binding by transcription factor IIB.. Genes & development. 12(1):34-44. Abstract
A sequence element located immediately upstream of the TATA element, and having the consensus sequence 5'-G/C-G/C-G/A-C-G-C-C-3', affects the ability of transcription factor IIB to enter transcription complexes and support transcription initiation. The sequence element is recognized directly by the transcription factor IIB. Recognition involves alpha-helices 4' and 5' of IIB, which comprise a helix-turn-helix DNA-binding motif. These observations establish that transcription initiation involves a fourth core promoter element, the IIB recognition element (BRE), in addition to the TATA element, the initiator element, and the downstream promoter element, and involves a second sequence-specific general transcription factor, IIB, in addition to transcription factor IID.
Berk, AJ, Boyer TG, Kapanidis AN, Ebright RH, Kobayashi NN, Horn PJ, Sullivan SM, Koop R, Surby MA, Triezenberg SJ.  1998.  Mechanisms of viral activators.. Cold Spring Harbor symposia on quantitative biology. 63:243-52. Abstract
Adenovirus large E1A, Epstein-Barr virus Zebra, and herpes simplex virus VP16 were studied as models of animal cell transcriptional activators. Large E1A can activate transcription from a TATA box, a result that leads us to suggest that it interacts with a general transcription factor. Initial studies showed that large E1A binds directly to the TBP subunit of TFIID. However, analysis of multiple E1A and TBP mutants failed to support the significance of this in vitro interaction for the mechanism of activation. Recent studies to be reported elsewhere indicate that conserved region 3 of large E1A, which is required for its activation function, binds to one subunit of a multisubunit protein that stimulates in vitro transcription in response to large E1A and other activators. A method was developed for the rapid purification of TFIID approximately 25,000-fold to near homogeneity from a cell line engineered to express an epitope-tagged form of TBP. Purified TFIID contains 11 major TAFs ranging in mass from approximately 250 to 20 kD. Zta and VP16, but not large E1A, greatly stimulate the rate and extent of assembly of a TFIID-TFIIA complex on promoter DNA (DA complex). For VP16, this is a function of the carboxy-terminal activation subdomain. An excellent correlation was found between the ability of VP16C mutants to stimulate DA complex assembly and their ability to activate transcription in vivo. Consequently, for a subset of activation domains, DA complex assembly activity is an important component of the overall mechanism of activation.
Reinberg, D, Orphanides G, Ebright R, Akoulitchev S, Carcamo J, Cho H, Cortes P, Drapkin R, Flores O, Ha I et al..  1998.  The RNA polymerase II general transcription factors: past, present, and future.. Cold Spring Harbor symposia on quantitative biology. 63:83-103.
Ebright, RH.  1998.  RNA polymerase-DNA interaction: structures of intermediate, open, and elongation complexes.. Cold Spring Harbor symposia on quantitative biology. 63:11-20.
1997
Kim, TK, Lagrange T, Wang YH, Griffith JD, Reinberg D, Ebright RH.  1997.  Trajectory of DNA in the RNA polymerase II transcription preinitiation complex.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 94(23):12268-73. Abstract
By using site-specific protein-DNA photocrosslinking, we define the positions of TATA-binding protein, transcription factor IIB, transcription factor IIF, and subunits of RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) relative to promoter DNA within the human transcription preinitiation complex. The results indicate that the interface between the largest and second-largest subunits of RNAPII forms an extended, approximately 240 A channel that interacts with promoter DNA both upstream and downstream of the transcription start. By using electron microscopy, we show that RNAPII compacts promoter DNA by the equivalent of approximately 50 bp. Together with the published structure of RNAPII, the results indicate that RNAPII wraps DNA around its surface and suggest a specific model for the trajectory of the wrapped DNA.
Miller, A, Wood D, Ebright RH, Rothman-Denes LB.  1997.  RNA polymerase beta' subunit: a target of DNA binding-independent activation.. Science (New York, N.Y.). 275(5306):1655-7. Abstract
The bacteriophage N4 single-stranded DNA binding protein (N4SSB) activates transcription by the Escherichia coli final sigma70-RNA polymerase at N4 late promoters. Here it is shown that the single-stranded DNA binding activity of N4SSB is not required for transcriptional activation. N4SSB interacts with the carboxyl terminus of the RNA polymerase beta' subunit in a region that is highly conserved in the largest subunits of prokaryotic and eukaryotic RNA polymerases.
Busby, S, Ebright RH.  1997.  Transcription activation at class II CAP-dependent promoters.. Molecular microbiology. 23(5):853-9. Abstract
Transcription activation at Class II CAP-dependent promoters provides a paradigm for understanding how a single activator molecule can make multiple interactions with the transcription machinery, with each interaction being responsible for a specific mechanistic consequence. At Class II CAP-dependent promoters, the DNA target site for CAP is centred near position -42, overlapping and replacing the -35 determinant for binding of RNA polymerase (RNAP). Transcription activation requires two distinct mechanistic components. The first component is 'anti-inhibition,' overcoming an inhibitory effect of the RNAP alpha subunit C-terminal domain (alpha CTD). This component involves direct contact between amino acids 156-164 (activating region 1) of the upstream subunit of the CAP dimer and a target in alpha CTD. The second component is 'direct activation', facilitating isomerization of the RNAP-promoter closed complex to the transcriptionally competent open complex. This component involves direct contact between amino acids 19, 21 and 101 (activating region 2) of the downstream subunit of the CAP dimer and a target in the RNAP alpha subunit N-terminal domain (alpha NTD).
1996
Heyduk, T, Heyduk E, Severinov K, Tang H, Ebright RH.  1996.  Determinants of RNA polymerase alpha subunit for interaction with beta, beta', and sigma subunits: hydroxyl-radical protein footprinting.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 93(19):10162-6. Abstract
Escherichia coli RNA polymerase (RNAP) alpha subunit serves as the initiator for RNAP assembly, which proceeds according to the pathway 2 alpha-->alpha 2-->alpha 2 beta-->alpha 2 beta beta'-->alpha 2 beta beta' sigma. In this work, we have used hydroxyl-radical protein footprinting to define determinants of alpha for interaction with beta, beta', and sigma. Our results indicate that amino acids 30-75 of alpha are protected from hydroxyl-radical-mediated proteolysis upon interaction with beta (i.e., in alpha 2 beta, alpha 2 beta beta', and alpha 2 beta beta' sigma), and amino acids 175-210 of alpha are protected from hydroxyl-radical-mediated proteolysis upon interaction with beta' (i.e., in alpha 2 beta beta' and alpha 2 beta beta' sigma). The protected regions are conserved in the alpha homologs of prokaryotic, eukaryotic, archaeal, and chloroplast RNAPs and contain sites of substitutions that affect RNAP assembly. We conclude that the protected regions define determinants of alpha for direct functional interaction with beta and beta'. The observed maximal magnitude of protection upon interaction with beta and the observed maximal magnitude of protection upon interaction with beta' both correspond to the expected value for complete protection of one of the two alpha protomers of RNAP (i.e., 50% protection). We propose that only one of the two alpha protomers of RNAP interacts with beta and that only one of the two alpha protomers of RNAP interacts with beta'.
Lagrange, T, Kim TK, Orphanides G, Ebright YW, Ebright RH, Reinberg D.  1996.  High-resolution mapping of nucleoprotein complexes by site-specific protein-DNA photocrosslinking: organization of the human TBP-TFIIA-TFIIB-DNA quaternary complex.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 93(20):10620-5. Abstract
We have used a novel site-specific protein-DNA photocrosslinking procedure to define the positions of polypeptide chains relative to promoter DNA in binary, ternary, and quaternary complexes containing human TATA-binding protein, human or yeast transcription factor IIA (TFIIA), human transcription factor IIB (TFIIB), and promoter DNA. The results indicate that TFIIA and TFIIB make more extensive interactions with promoter DNA than previously anticipated. TATA-binding protein, TFIIA, and TFIIB surround promoter DNA for two turns of DNA helix and thus may form a "cylindrical clamp" effectively topologically linked to promoter DNA. Our results have implications for the energetics, DNA-sequence-specificity, and pathway of assembly of eukaryotic transcription complexes.
Parkinson, G, Gunasekera A, Vojtechovsky J, Zhang X, Kunkel TA, Berman H, Ebright RH.  1996.  Aromatic hydrogen bond in sequence-specific protein DNA recognition.. Nature structural biology. 3(10):837-41.
Ebright, YW, Chen Y, Kim Y, Ebright RH.  1996.  S-[2-(4-azidosalicylamido)ethylthio]-2-thiopyridine: radioiodinatable, cleavable, photoactivatible cross-linking agent.. Bioconjugate chemistry. 7(3):380-4. Abstract
S-[2-(4-Azidosalicylamido)ethylthio]-2-thiopyridine (AET) contains a 2-thiopyridyl moiety, which permits cysteine-specific incorporation into protein through a cleavable disulfide bond, and a 4-azidosalicylamido moiety, which permits radioiodination and photoactivatible cross-linking. In contrast to the related compound S-[2-[N-[4-(4-azidosalicylamido)butyl]carbomoyl]ethylthio]-2 -thiopyridine [APDP; Zecherle, G., Oleinikov, A., and Traut, R. (1992) Biochemistry 31, 9526], AET contains a relatively short linker arm between the 2-thiopyridyl moiety and the 4-azidosalicylamido moiety. In a previous paper, it was shown that AET could be used in site-specific protein-protein photocross-linking to identify nearest-neighbor protein domains within a multiprotein complex [Chen, Y., Ebright, Y., and Ebright, R. (1994) Science 265, 90]. In this paper, the synthesis, radioiodination, and incorporation into protein of AET are described.
Sheehan, B, Klarsfeld A, Ebright R, Cossart P.  1996.  A single substitution in the putative helix-turn-helix motif of the pleiotropic activator PrfA attenuates Listeria monocytogenes virulence.. Molecular microbiology. 20(4):785-97. Abstract
PrfA, the regulator of virulence-gene expression in the pathogenic bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, displays sequence similarity to members of the CAP-FNR family of transcriptional regulators. To test the functional significance of this similarity, we constructed and analysed substitutions of two amino acids of PrfA predicted to contact DNA, i.e. Ser-184 and Ser-183. Substitution of Ser-184 by Ala reduced DNA binding and virulence-gene activation, and attenuated the virulence in a mouse model of infection. In contrast, substitution of Ser-183 by Ala had the opposite effect in these functional assays. A 17bp DNA sequence, which includes a putative PrfA site, was shown to be sufficient for target-site recognition by PrfA and PrfA-S183A. Our results strongly support the hypothesis that PrfA is a structural and functional homologue of CAP. In addition, they establish a clear correlation between DNA binding by PrfA, virulence-gene activation, and virulence.
Parkinson, G, Wilson C, Gunasekera A, Ebright YW, Ebright RE, Berman HM.  1996.  Structure of the CAP-DNA complex at 2.5 angstroms resolution: a complete picture of the protein-DNA interface.. Journal of molecular biology. 260(3):395-408. Abstract
The crystallographic structure of the CAP-DNA complex at 3.0 A resolution has been reported previously. For technical reasons, the reported structure had been determined using a gapped DNA molecule lacking two phosphates important for CAP-DNA interaction. In this work, we report the crystallographic structure of the CAP-DNA complex at 2.5 A resolution using a DNA molecule having all phosphates important for CAP-DNA interaction. The present resolution permits unambiguous identification of amino acid-base and amino acid-phosphate hydrogen bonded contacts in the CAP-DNA complex. In addition, the present resolution permits accurate definition of the kinked DNA conformation in the CAP-DNA complex.
Gaal, T, Ross W, Blatter EE, Tang H, Jia X, Krishnan VV, Assa-Munt N, Ebright RH, Gourse RL.  1996.  DNA-binding determinants of the alpha subunit of RNA polymerase: novel DNA-binding domain architecture.. Genes & development. 10(1):16-26. Abstract
The Escherichia coli RNA polymerase alpha-subunit binds through its carboxy-terminal domain (alpha CTD) to a recognition element, the upstream (UP) element, in certain promoters. We used genetic and biochemical techniques to identify the residues in alpha CTD important for UP-element-dependent transcription and DNA binding. These residues occur in two regions of alpha CTD, close to but distinct from, residues important for interactions with certain transcription activators. We used NMR spectroscopy to determine the secondary structure of alpha CTD, alpha CTD contains a nonstandard helix followed by four alpha-helices. The two regions of alpha CTD important for DNA binding correspond to the first alpha-helix and the loop between the third and fourth alpha-helices. The alpha CTD DNA-binding domain architecture is unlike any DNA-binding architecture identified to date, and we propose that alpha CTD has a novel mode of interaction with DNA. Our results suggest models for alpha CTD-DNA and alpha CTD-DNA-activator interactions during transcription initiation.
Tang, H, Sun X, Reinberg D, Ebright RH.  1996.  Protein-protein interactions in eukaryotic transcription initiation: structure of the preinitiation complex.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 93(3):1119-24. Abstract
We have used alanine scanning to analyze protein-protein interactions by human TATA-element binding protein (TBP) within the transcription preinitiation complex. The results indicate that TBP interacts with RNA polymerase II and general transcription factors IIA, IIB, and IIF within the functional transcription preinitiation complex and define the determinants of TBP for each of these interactions. The results permit construction of a model for the structure of the preinitiation complex.
Niu, W, Kim Y, Tau G, Heyduk T, Ebright RH.  1996.  Transcription activation at class II CAP-dependent promoters: two interactions between CAP and RNA polymerase.. Cell. 87(6):1123-34. Abstract
At Class II catabolite activator protein (CAP)-dependent promoters, CAP activates transcription from a DNA site overlapping the DNA site for RNA polymerase. We show that transcription activation at Class II CAP-dependent promoters requires not only the previously characterized interaction between an activating region of CAP and the RNA polymerase alpha subunit C-terminal domain, but also an interaction between a second, promoter-class-specific activating region of CAP and the RNA polymerase alpha subunit N-terminal domain. We further show that the two interactions affect different steps in transcription initiation. Transcription activation at Class II CAP-dependent promoters provides a paradigm for understanding how an activator can make multiple interactions with the transcription machinery, each interaction being responsible for a specific mechanistic consequence.