Tony WeilDepartment of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA F1000 Faculty Member (since 13 November 2003)
Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville
- BS, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois
- PhD, University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston, Texas
- Postdoctoral Fellow, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri
The focus of research in our laboratory is to understand the molecular mechanisms of eukaryotic transcription initiation. For the last ten or so years we have been examining the eukaryotic transcription factors which mediate initiation complex formation and thus represent potential targets for trans-regulation. We have utilized the simple eukaryote, Saccharomyces cerevisiae or Baker's Yeast, for our work. This organism was chosen for our studies because both biochemical and genetic approaches can be taken with yeasts. In our experiments we study the factors required for transcription initiation by RNA polymerase II (RNAP II). RNAP II transcribes the genes which encode mRNAs. We have developed methods for the solubilisation, characterization and purification of the complete complement of RNAP II-specific factors, and our current focus is on one of these factors the multisubunit factor termed TFIID. All of the proteins which comprise TFIID have very interesting biochemical properties. One of the factors, known as TBP, or TATA box binding protein, is a sequence specific DNA binding protein which interacts with the ubiquitous TATA box promoter element while others are not. The other subunits of TFIID presumably interact with other promoter elements, RNAPII, positive-acting transcription factors or other general transcription factors such as TFIIA, TFIIB, TFIIE, TFIIF or TFIIF.
Our immediate efforts have been expended towards cloning the yeast genes which encode these genes encoding the TFIID subunits. We have been successful in cloning the genes which encode the multiple (15 distinct genes) subunits of yeast TFIID.
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