Identification of TATA-binding protein-free TAFII-containing complex subunits suggests a role in nucleosome acetylation and signal transduction.
Recently we identified a novel human (h) multiprotein complex, called TATA-binding protein (TBP)-free TAFII-containing complex (TFTC), which is able to nucleate RNA polymerase II transcription and can mediate transcriptional activation. Here we demonstrate that TFTC, similar to other TBP-free TAFII complexes (yeast SAGA, hSTAGA, and hPCAF) contains the acetyltransferase hGCN5 and is able to acetylate histones in both a free and a nucleosomal context. The recently described TRRAP cofactor for oncogenic transcription factor pathways was also characterized as a TFTC subunit. Furthermore, we identified four other previously uncharacterized subunits of TFTC: hADA3, hTAFII150, hSPT3, and hPAF65beta. Thus, the polypeptide composition of TFTC suggests that TFTC is recruited to chromatin templates by activators to acetylate histones and thus may potentiate initiation and activation of transcription.