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Transcription factor IID in the Archaea: sequences in the Thermococcus celer genome would encode a product closely related to the TATA-binding protein of eukaryotesThe first step in transcription initiation in eukaryotes is mediated by the TATA-binding protein, a subunit of the transcription factor IID complex. We have cloned and sequenced the gene for a presumptive homolog of this eukaryotic protein from Thermococcus celer, a member of the Archaea (formerly archaebacteria). The protein encoded by the archaeal gene is a tandem repeat of a conserved domain, corresponding to the repeated domain in its eukaryotic counterparts. Molecular phylogenetic analyses of the two halves of the repeat are consistent with the duplication occurring before the divergence of the archael and eukaryotic domains. In conjunction with previous observations of similarity in RNA polymerase subunit composition and sequences and the finding of a transcription factor IIB-like sequence in Pyrococcus woesei (a relative of T. celer) it appears that major features of the eukaryotic transcription apparatus were well-established before the origin of eukaryotic cellular organization. The divergence between the two halves of the archael protein is less than that between the halves of the individual eukaryotic sequences, indicating that the average rate of sequence change in the archael protein has been less than in its eukaryotic counterparts. To the extent that this lower rate applies to the genome as a whole, a clearer picture of the early genes (and gene families) that gave rise to present-day genomes is more apt to emerge from the study of sequences from the Archaea than from the corresponding sequences from eukaryotes.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Marsh, T. L. (University of Illinois Urbana 61801)
Reich, C. I.
Whitelock, R. B.
Olsen, G. J.
Woese, C. R.
Date Acquired
August 22, 2013
Publication Date
May 10, 1994
Publication Information
Publication: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume: 91
Issue: 10
ISSN: 0027-8424
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
NASA Discipline Exobiology
Non-NASA Center