Chapter 4 : Transcription of Eukaryotic tRNA Genes

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This chapter reviews the basis for the current view of eukaryotic tRNA promoters and transcription machinery, and discusses studies of mechanistic and regulatory strategies. Recent insights into the nature of the polymerase III transcription machinery give substance to these speculations and suggest a specific role for 5' flanking promoter elements. The discussion of the polymerase III transcription machinery first focuses on the two traditional factor fractions TFIIIB and TFIIIC and then on individual components recently resolved from these fractions. In the discussion, standard TFIIIB and TFIIIC nomenclature are used, but, keeping the heterogeneity of these fractions in mind, “F” are taken to mean “fraction” rather than “factor.” Also, it may be useful to avoid assumptions and consider the transcriptionally active polypeptides in these fractions as independent transcription factors, rather than as tightly associated subunits. Given the number of macromolecules involved in class III transcription, genetic approaches are likely to be essential for identifying all of the players. An intriguing focus of current work is the regulation of tRNA transcription. There are now a number of examples of enhanced production of particular tRNAs in response to cellular differentiation and growth conditions.

Citation: Sprague K. 1995. Transcription of Eukaryotic tRNA Genes, p 31-50. In tRNA. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818333.ch4

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RNA Polymerase III
RNA Polymerase II
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Figure 1

Schematic summary of a tRNA gene transcription complex. The coding region of a generic tRNA gene is indicated by hatch marks, and the A and B boxes are marked. Polypeptide components of the yeast TFIIIB and TFIIIC fractions are shown in dark gray and light gray, respectively. The polypeptides that have been identified by cross-linking to the template are indicated with thick black outlines and are aligned with the template according to the positions from which they are most efficiently cross-linked ( ). This picture represents a summary of work on various organisms from several different laboratories ( ).

Citation: Sprague K. 1995. Transcription of Eukaryotic tRNA Genes, p 31-50. In tRNA. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818333.ch4
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