The basal transcription factor TFIID is central for RNA polymerase II-dependent transcription. Human TFIID is endowed with chromatin reader and DNA-binding domains and protein interaction surfaces. Fourteen TFIID TATA-binding protein (TBP)-associated factor (TAF) subunits assemble into the holocomplex, which shares subunits with the Spt–Ada–Gcn5–acetyltransferase (SAGA) coactivator. Here, we discuss the structural and functional evolution of TFIID and its divergence from SAGA. Our orthologous tree and domain analyses reveal dynamic gains and losses of epigenetic readers, plant-specific functions of TAF1 and TAF4, the HEAT2-like repeat in TAF2, and, importantly, the pre-LECA origin of TFIID and SAGA. TFIID evolution exemplifies the dynamic plasticity in transcription complexes in the eukaryotic lineage.

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Genes & Development
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Antonova, S.V., Boeren, J., Timmers, M., & Snel, B. (2019). Epigenetics and transcription regulation during eukaryotic diversification: the saga of TFIID. Genes & Development, 33(15-16), 888–902. doi:10.1101/gad.300475.117