The TATA-binding protein (TBP) is required for transcription by all three nuclear RNA polymerases. TBP was subjected to regional codon randomization, a codon-based mutagenesis method that generates complex yet compact protein libraries. Analysis of 186 temperature-sensitive TBP mutants yielded 65 specifically defective in transcription by RNA polymerase III (Pol III). These mutants map to a limited TBP surface that may interact with Tds4, a component of the Pol III transcription factor TFIIIB. Strains that contain the Pol III-defective derivatives have increased amounts of messenger RNA, which suggests that competition among TBP-interacting factors for limiting quantities of TBP determines the ratio of Pol II and Pol III transcription in vivo.
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