Promoter Structure of Class III Genes

  • Robert J. White
Part of the Biotechnology Intelligence Unit book series (BIOIU)


The promoters of most class III genes include discontinuous intragenic structures, termed internal control regions (ICRs), that are composed of essential sequence blocks separated by nonessential nucleotides. The ICRs of 5S rRNA genes are sometimes referred to as type I. These comprise two functional domains: an Ablock and a second domain consisting of an intermediate element and a C-block. Most class III genes, including tRNA, VA, Alu, EBER, 7SL, 4.5S, B1, and B2 genes, have type II ICRs: these again have two domains, an A-block and a B-block. The Ablocks of types I and II are homologous and can substitute for one another in Xenopus, 1 although not in Neurospora.2 The A-block is located much further from the start site in type I than it is in type II promoters. As well as the ICR, extragenic sequences can also affect the strength of type I and II promoters. However, substitutions in the extragenic regions are generally well tolerated, unlike mutations in the ICR. In contrast, with type III promoters, such as those of the vertebrate U6 and 7SK genes, transcription is independent of intragenic elements and is dictated solely by 5′ flanking regions.3–8 A schematic illustration of the three types of class III promoter is provided in Figure 2.1.


tRNA Gene Promoter Structure snRNA Gene Octamer Motif Promoter Arrangement 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert J. White
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences Division of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowScotland, UK

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