Ever wonder how Pol II transcription starts? So did many several decades ago. Works from Roeder, Hahn, Buratowski, Tjian (and so many more) have ironed out the mechanism of Pol II recruitment and initiation in eukaryotic cells. And these are literally in the textbooks.
At the center of it all is this one protein called TBP. An essential gene, TBP is conserved throughout Archaea and Eukarya. Without it, you don’t get transcription… Or do you???
Well, for reasons we won’t get to for now, we decided to revisit TBP, even though it seemed like it was all figured out a while ago. What we found blew our minds. Turns out, at least in mouse embryonic stem cells, Pol II doesn’t need TBP to transcribe genes!
mouse ES cells don’t even need TBP to induce transcription of silent genes! So what is going on? Read all about it here!
Congratulations to all members of the Teves lab, especially James and Thomas who spearheaded this project together.