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Cell Growth & Differentiation Vol. 10, 387-396, June 1999
© 1999 American Association for Cancer Research

Nuclear c-Abl Is a COOH-Terminal Repeated Domain (CTD)-Tyrosine Kinase-specific for the Mammalian RNA Polymerase II

Possible Role in Transcription Elongation1

Rajasekaran Baskaran2, Shawna R. Escobar3 and Jean Y. J. Wang4

Department of Biology, Center for Molecular Genetics and the Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0322

The c-Abl tyrosine kinase has been shown to interact with the COOH-terminal repeated domain (CTD) of mammalian RNA polymerase II and can phosphorylate the tyrosine residues in the CTD. Interestingly, the Drosophila or the yeast CTD were not efficiently phosphorylated by the mammalian c-Abl. This species-specificity was found to be determined by the extreme COOH-terminal CTD sequences that are not conserved through evolution. In vitro, COOH-terminal-truncated CTD could neither bind to, nor be phosphorylated by, c-Abl. In vivo, coexpression of a full length CTD prevents c-Abl from inducing the tyrosine phosphorylation of endogenous RNA polymerase II, and such inhibitory effect was not observed with the coexpression of COOH-terminal-truncated CTD. Serine/threonine phosphorylation of the CTD has been linked to the regulation of transcription elongation. Transcription from the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) promoter requires CTD-phosphorylation, which is stimulated by the viral Tat protein through the recruitment of cellular Ser/Thr CTD kinases. In transient cotransfection experiments, the c-Abl kinase was found to activate the HIV promoter in the absence of Tat. The activation of the HIV promoter required the nuclear localization of c-Abl and could be correlated with increased tyrosine phosphorylation of RNA polymerase II. These observations suggest that tyrosine phosphorylation of the CTD may be functionally equivalent to its serine/threonine phosphorylation in stimulating transcription elongation.




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Molecular Cancer Research Cell Growth & Differentiation
Copyright © 1999 by the American Association of Cancer Research.