The TATA-binding protein: a general transcription factor in eukaryotes and archaebacteria

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Science  27 May 1994:
Vol. 264, Issue 5163, pp. 1326-1329
DOI: 10.1126/science.8191287


The TATA-binding protein TBP appears to be essential for all transcription in eukaryotic cell nuclei, which suggests that its function was established early in evolution. Archaebacteria constitute a kingdom of organisms distinct from eukaryotes and eubacteria. Archaebacterial gene regulatory sequences often map to TATA box-like motifs. Here it is shown that the archaebacterium Pyrococcus woesei expresses a protein with structural and functional similarity to eukaryotic TBP molecules. This suggests that TBP's role in transcription was established before the archaebacterial and eukaryotic lineages diverged and that the transcription systems of archaebacteria and eukaryotes are fundamentally homologous.