The Journal of biological chemistry

G-actin participates in RNA polymerase II-dependent transcription elongation by recruiting positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb).

PMID 21378166


Actin is a key regulator of RNA polymerase (Pol) II-dependent transcription. Positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb), a Cdk9/cyclin T1 heterodimer, has been reported to play a critical role in transcription elongation. However, the relationship between actin and P-TEFb is still not clear. In this study, actin was found to interact with Cdk9, a catalytic subunit of P-TEFb, in elongation complexes. Using immunofluorescence and immunoprecipitation assays, Cdk9 was found to bind to G-actin through the conserved Thr-186 in the T-loop. Overexpression and in vitro kinase assays showed that G-actin promotes P-TEFb-dependent phosphorylation of the Pol II C-terminal domain. An in vitro transcription experiment revealed that the interaction between G-actin and Cdk9 stimulated Pol II transcription elongation. ChIP and immobilized template assays indicated that actin recruited Cdk9 to a transcriptional template in vivo and in vitro. Using cytokine IL-6-inducible p21 gene expression system, we revealed that actin recruited Cdk9 to endogenous gene. Moreover, overexpression of actin and Cdk9 increased histone H3 acetylation and acetylized histone H3 binding to a transcriptional template through the interaction with histone acetyltransferase, p300. Taken together, our results suggested that actin participates in transcription elongation by recruiting Cdk9 for phosphorylation of the Pol II C-terminal domain, and the actin-Cdk9 interaction promotes chromatin remodeling.