Recent advances in understanding the structure and function of general transcription factor TFIID
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The general transcription factor TFIID is a macromolecular complex comprising the TATA-binding protein (TBP) and a set of 13–14 TBP associated factors (TAFs). This review discusses biochemical, genetic and electron microscopic data acquired over the past years that provide a model for the composition, organisation and assembly of TFIID. We also revisit ideas on how TFIID is recruited to the promoters of active and possibly repressed genes. Recent observations show that recognition of acetylated and methylated histone residues by structural domains in several TAFs plays an important role. Finally, we highlight several genetic studies suggesting that TFIID is required for initiation of transcription, but not for maintaining transcription once a promoter is in an active state.