Downstream elements are a newly appreciated class of core promoter elements of RNA polymerase II-transcribed genes. The downstream core element (DCE) was discovered in the human β-globin promoter, and its sequence composition is distinct from that of the downstream promoter element (DPE). We show here that the DCE is a bona fide core promoter element present in a large number of promoters and with high incidence in promoters containing a TATA motif. Database analysis indicates that the DCE is found in diverse promoters, supporting its functional relevance in a variety of promoter contexts. The DCE consists of three subelements, and DCE function is recapitulated in a TFIID-dependent manner. Subelement 3 can function independently of the other two and shows a TFIID requirement as well. UV photo-cross-linking results demonstrate that TAF1/TAFII250 interacts with the DCE subelement DNA in a sequence-dependent manner. These data show that downstream elements consist of at least two types, those of the DPE class and those of the DCE class; they function via different DNA sequences and interact with different transcription activation factors. Finally, these data argue that TFIID is, in fact, a core promoter recognition complex.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/naum_gershenzon/15/