Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 8306958
EMBO J. 1994 Jan;13(1):147-57
The E2 transactivator protein of bovine papillomavirus 1 (BPV-1) can strongly stimulate complex promoters such as that of the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase gene but does not efficiently activate minimal promoters that only contain E2 binding sites and a TATA box. Here we show that overexpression of the human, but not yeast, TATA box binding protein (TBP) in transfection experiments overcomes this block and enables E2 to activate a minimal TATA box-containing promoter. This suggests that recruitment of the TFIID complex to such promoters is normally a rate limiting step for transcriptional activation by E2 in vivo. In contrast, minimal promoters that contain an initiator element in addition to a TATA box are efficiently activated by E2 on its own and this activation is only moderately enhanced by TBP overexpression. In such E2-responsive promoters the TATA box or initiator can be functionally replaced by SP1 binding sites. Both the initiator binding protein, TFII-I, and SP1 have been found to interact physically with components of the TFIID complex. Since either TBP overexpression or the presence of an initiator or SP1 binding sites can increase activation by E2, it seems likely that the principal role of the E2 activation domain is to affect a step in the formation of the transcription initiation complex that occurs after TFIID has bound to the promoter. Sequential action of transcription factors, such as TFII-I, SP1 and E2, may be one type of mechanism underlying the widely observed phenomenon of transcriptional synergy.