The human thyroid hormone receptor-associated protein (TRAP) complex, an earlier described coactivator for nuclear receptors, and an SRB- and MED-containing cofactor complex (SMCC) that mediates activation by Gal4-p53 are shown to be virtually the same with respect to specific polypeptide subunits, coactivator functions, and mechanisms of action (activator interactions). In parallel with ligand-dependent interactions of nuclear receptors with the TRAP220 subunit, p53 and VP16 activation domains interact directly with a newly cloned TRAP80 subunit. These results indicate novel pathways for the function of nuclear receptors and other activators (p53 and VP16) through a common coactivator complex that is likely to target RNA polymerase II. Identification of the TRAP230 subunit as a previously predicted gene product also suggests a coactivator-related transcription defect in certain disease states.
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