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Mol Cell Biol. 1997 March; 17(3): 1160–1169.
PMCID: PMC231841

Cdc73p and Paf1p are found in a novel RNA polymerase II-containing complex distinct from the Srbp-containing holoenzyme.


The products of the yeast CDC73 and PAF1 genes were originally identified as RNA polymerase II-associated proteins. Paf1p is a nuclear protein important for cell growth and transcriptional regulation of a subset of yeast genes. In this study we demonstrate that the product of CDC73 is a nuclear protein that interacts directly with purified RNA polymerase II in vitro. Deletion of CDC73 confers a temperature-sensitive phenotype. Combination of the cdc73 mutation with the more severe paf1 mutation does not result in an enhanced phenotype, indicating that the two proteins may function in the same cellular processes. To determine the relationship between Cdc73p and Paf1p and the recently described holoenzyme form of RNA polymerase II, we created yeast strains containing glutathione S-transferase (GST)-tagged forms of CDC73, PAF1, and TFG2 functionally replacing the chromosomal copies of the genes. Isolation of GST-tagged Cdc73p and Paf1p complexes has revealed a unique form of RNA polymerase II that contains both Cdc73p and Paf1p but lacks the Srbps found in the holoenzyme. The Cdc73p-Paf1p-RNA polymerase II-containing complex also includes Gal11p, and the general initiation factors TFIIB and TFIIF, but lacks TBP, TFIIH, and transcription elongation factor TFIIS as well as the Srbps. The Srbp-containing holoenzyme does not include either Paf1p or Cdc73p, demonstrating that these two forms of RNA polymerase II are distinct. In confirmation of the hypothesis that the two forms coexist in yeast cells, we found that a TFIIF-containing complex isolated via the GST-tagged Tfg2p construct contains both (i) the Srbps and (ii) Cdc73p and Paf1p. The Srbps and Cdc73p-Paf1p therefore appear to define two complexes with partially redundant, essential functions in the yeast cell. Using the technique of differential display, we have identified several genes whose transcripts require Cdc73p and/or Paf1p for normal levels of expression. Our analysis suggests that there are multiple RNA polymerase II-containing complexes involved in the expression of different classes of protein-coding genes.

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