Müller, F., Lakatos, L., Dantonel, J., Strähle, U., and Tora, L. (2001) TBP is not universally required for zygotic RNA polymerase II transcription in zebrafish. Current biology : CB. 11(4):282-287.
General transcription factors TFIIA, B, D, E, F, H, and RNA polymerase II (Pol II) are required for accurate initiation of Pol II transcription. The TATA binding protein (TBP), a subunit of TFIID, is responsible for recognition of the TATA box, a core element shared by a category of class II promoters . Recently, novel TBP-like factors (TLFs) have been described in metazoan organisms . In spite of the numerous in vitro studies describing the general role of TBP in RNA polymerase II (Pol lI) transcription initiation, the precise function of TBP and the newly described TLF is poorly understood in vivo. We inhibited TBP and TLF function in zebrafish embryos to study the role of these factors during zygotic transcription. A dominant-negative variant of TLF mRNA and a TBP morpholino antisense oligo was used to block either TLF or TBP function. Both TBP- or TLF-blocked embryos developed normally until the midblastula stage; however, they then failed to gastrulate. Several zygotic regulatory genes were downregulated by a block in either TBP or TLF function, while others were differentially affected. These results suggest that TBP is not universally required for Pol II transcription in vertebrates and that there is a differential requirement for TBP and TLF during early embryogenesis.