FACT relieves DSIF/NELF-mediated inhibition of transcriptional elongation and reveals functional differences between P-TEFb and TFIIH.
We report that the chromatin-specific transcription elongation factor FACT functions in conjunction with the RNA polymerase II CTD kinase P-TEFb to alleviate transcription inhibition by DSIF (DRB sensitivity-inducing factor) and NELF (negative elongation factor). We find that the kinase activity of TFIIH is dispensable for this activity, demonstrating that TFIIH-mediated CTD phosphorylation is not involved in the regulation of FACT and DSIF/NELF activities. Thus, we propose a novel transcriptional regulatory network in which DSIF/NELF inhibition of transcription is prevented by P-TEFb in cooperation with FACT. This study uncovers a novel role for FACT in the regulation of transcription on naked DNA that is independent of its activities on chromatin templates. In addition, this study reveals functional differences between P-TEFb and TFIIH in the regulation of transcription.