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We have analyzed the upstream promoter of the human 7SK RNA gene to determine which protein factors are involved in the transcription of this gene by RNA polymerase III. Using a reconstituted in vitro system, we show directly that octamer binding transcription factors (OTFs) are required for efficient transcription and that they interact with a series of nonconsensus OTF binding sites between positions -70 and -240. The same purified factors that stimulate RNA polymerase II-dependent transcription of the histone H2b gene (OTF-1) and an immunoglobulin light chain gene (OTF-2) also stimulate 7SK transcription by RNA polymerase III. Moreover, OTF-dependent stimulation requires a sequence between positions -48 and -65 that is homologous to the proximal sequence element of the class II snRNA genes. Our findings indicate that some transcription factors are utilized in the transcription of both class II and class III genes.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1071 - 1080


Base Sequence, Cell Line, Cell Nucleus, Chromosome Deletion, DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases, Genes, Humans, Molecular Sequence Data, Mutation, Oligonucleotide Probes, RNA Polymerase III, Ribonucleoproteins, Ribonucleoproteins, Small Nuclear, Transcription Factors, Transcription, Genetic