A stable complex of a novel transcription factor IIB- related factor, human TFIIIB50, and associated proteins mediate selective transcription by RNA polymerase III of genes with upstream promoter elements.
Transcription factor IIIB (TFIIIB) is directly involved in transcription initiation by RNA polymerase III in eukaryotes. Yeast contain a single TFIIIB activity that is comprised of the TATA-binding protein (TBP), TFIIB-related factor 1 (BRF1), and TFIIIB", whereas two distinct TFIIIB activities, TFIIIB-alpha and TFIIIB-beta, have been described in human cells. Human TFIIIB-beta is required for transcription of genes with internal promoter elements, and contains TBP, a TFIIIB" homologue (TFIIIB150), and a BRF1 homologue (TFIIIB90), whereas TFIIIB-alpha is required for transcription of genes with promoter elements upstream of the initiation site. Here we describe the identification, cloning, and characterization of TFIIIB50, a novel homologue of TFIIB and TFIIIB90. TFIIIB50 and tightly associated factors, along with TBP and TFIIIB150, reconstitute human TFIIIB-alpha activity. Thus, higher eukaryotes, in contrast to the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, have evolved two distinct TFIIB-related factors that mediate promoter selectivity by RNA polymerase III.