- Elongin A performs dual functions as the transcriptionally active subunit of RNA polymerase II (Pol II) elongation factor Elongin and as the substrate recognition subunit of a Cullin-RING E3 ubiquitin ligase that ubiquitylates Pol II in response to DNA damage. Assembly of the Elongin A ubiquitin ligase and its recruitment to sites of DNA damage is a tightly regulated process induced by DNA-damaging agents and α-amanitin, a drug that induces Pol II stalling. In this study, we demonstrate (i) that Elongin A and the ubiquitin ligase subunit CUL5 associate in cells with the Cockayne syndrome B (CSB) protein and (ii) that this interaction is also induced by DNA-damaging agents and α-amanitin.
- Mediator plays an integral role in activation of RNA polymerase II (Pol II) transcription. A key step in activation is binding of Mediator to Pol II to form the Mediator-Pol II holoenzyme. Here, we exploit a combination of biochemistry and macromolecular EM to investigate holoenzyme assembly. We identify a subset of human Mediator head module subunits that bind Pol II independent of other subunits and thus probably contribute to a major Pol II binding site. In addition, we show that binding of human Mediator to Pol II depends on the integrity of a conserved “hinge” in the middle module MED21-MED7 heterodimer.