From the general views of the eukaryotic transcription systems, L1 (or L1-like) retrotransposons that encode some proteins are unusual. L1, unlike other protein-coding elements, is transcribed through an internal promoter. And the L1 Internal promoter, unlike other internal promoters, is thought to be RNA polymerase II (pol II) dependent, because the L1 transcript has a large size (̃6 kb), protein coding capacity and a 3′ terminal polyadenylation signal followed by a poly(A) tall, and also because transcription from the promoter of Drosophila L1-like element Jockey was highly sensitive to α-amanitin. However, our in vitro transcription study reveals that transcription from the human L1 promoter is highly sensitive to tagetitoxin, a selective inhibitor of RNA polymerase III (pol III), but insensitive to 1 μg/ml of α-amanitin, indicating that the human L1 promoter is pol III-dependent. The pol III dependence is further supported by our observation that L1 and pol III-dependent tRNA gene promoters share a common nuclear factor YY1. There is evidence that YY1 is also a pol II transcription factor. We thus propose that YY1 is a possible member of the pol III transcription system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas