First Advisor

Michael Bartlett

Date of Publication

Summer 9-18-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Biology






Archaebacteria, Transcription factors, Genetic transcription



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 63 pages)


All sequenced archaeal genomes encode a general transcription factor, TFE, which is highly conserved and homologous to the alpha subunit of the eukaryotic transcription factor TFIIE. TFE functions to increase promoter opening efficiency during transcription initiation, although the mechanism for this is unclear. The N-terminus of TFE contains a common DNA binding motif, a winged helix. At the tip of this winged helix is a highly conserved region of aromatic amino acids that is close to DNA during initiation. TFE activation can compensate for mutations in another transcription factor, TFB2, which is homologous to TFIIB. P. furiosus encodes two paralogs of the eukaryotic RNA polymerase II transcription factor TFIIB: TFB1 and TFB2. TFB2 lacks a portion of the highly conserved N-terminus, and functions in transcription complexes at a lower efficiency than TFB1. It has been demonstrated that the presence of TFE is able to assist in transcription with TFB2 in vitro bringing its efficiency to almost TFB1 levels. Thus, TFB2 provides a unique opportunity to evaluate the function of the TFE winged helix in transcription. In this study the aromatic patch of the TFE winged helix was mutated to test its role in activation of TFB1 and TFB2-containing transcription complexes, because this aromatic patch is required for full TFE activity especially when NTP concentrations are low.


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