The transcriptional start site for a human U6 small nuclear RNA gene is dictated by a compound promoter element consisting of the PSE and the TATA box. Academic Article uri icon


  • Transcription of vertebrate U6 snRNA genes by RNA polymerase III requires two sequence elements in the proximal promoter region: the PSE (proximal sequence element, found in snRNA promoters transcribed by RNA polymerase II) and the TATA element (found in many mRNA promoters). The locations of the PSE and the TATA box are important determinants for transcriptional start site selection in their respective RNA polymerase II promoters. In vertebrate U6 genes the PSE and the TATA elements are located in approximately the same positions as in the polymerase II transcribed genes, but their respective roles in initiation site selection are unknown. We have analyzed the effects of spacing changes between the PSE and the TATA element, and between the two elements and the normal U6 start site on human U6 gene transcription. The spacing requirement between the two elements is highly stringent, implying a possible interaction between the factors that bind them. Our results discount the possibility that the location of either the PSE or the TATA element, by itself, dictates efficient selection of a transcriptional start site. Instead, we suggest that the two elements form a compound promoter element whose location dictates the start site of transcription from the human U6 gene promoter.

published proceedings

  • Nucleic Acids Res

altmetric score

  • 9

author list (cited authors)

  • Goomer, R. S., & Kunkel, G. R

citation count

  • 48

complete list of authors

  • Goomer, RS||Kunkel, GR

publication date

  • September 1992