Dynamic Architecture of a Minimal RNA Polymerase II Open Promoter Complex

Barbara Treutlein, Adam Muschielok, Joanna Andrecka, Anass Jawhari, Claudia Buchen, Dirk Kostrewa, Friederike Hög, Patrick Cramer, Jens Michaelis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


The open promoter complex (OC) is a central intermediate during transcription initiation that contains a DNA bubble. Here, we employ single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer experiments and Nano-Positioning System analysis to determine the three-dimensional architecture of a minimal OC consisting of promoter DNA, including a TATA box and an 11-nucleotide mismatched region around the transcription start site, TATA box-binding protein (TBP), RNA polymerase (Pol) II, and general transcription factor (TF)IIB and TFIIF. In this minimal OC, TATA-DNA and TBP reside above the Pol II cleft between clamp and protrusion domains. Downstream DNA is dynamically loaded into and unloaded from the Pol II cleft at a timescale of seconds. The TFIIB core domain is displaced from the Pol II wall, where it is located in the closed promoter complex. These results reveal large overall structural changes during the initiation-elongation transition, which are apparently accommodated by the intrinsic flexibility of TFIIB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-146
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Cell
Issue number2
StatePublished - 27 Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


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