Architecture of the RNA polymerase II-Mediator core initiation complex

C. Plaschka, L. Larivière, L. Wenzeck, M. Seizl, M. Hemann, D. Tegunov, E. V. Petrotchenko, C. H. Borchers, W. Baumeister, F. Herzog, E. Villa, P. Cramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

202 Citations (Scopus)


The conserved co-activator complex Mediator enables regulated transcription initiation by RNA polymerase (Pol) II. Here we reconstitute an active 15-subunit core Mediator (cMed) comprising all essential Mediator subunits from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The cryo-electron microscopic structure of cMed bound to a core initiation complex was determined at 9.7 Å resolution. cMed binds Pol II around the Rpb4-Rpb7 stalk near the carboxy-terminal domain (CTD). The Mediator head module binds the Pol II dock and the TFIIB ribbon and stabilizes the initiation complex. The Mediator middle module extends to the Pol II foot with a plank that may influence polymerase conformation. The Mediator subunit Med14 forms a beam between the head and middle modules and connects to the tail module that is predicted to bind transcription activators located on upstream DNA. The Mediator and hook domains contribute to a cradle that may position the CTD and TFIIH kinase to stimulate Pol II phosphorylation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-380
Number of pages5
Issue number7539
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


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