Phosphorylation of the Pol II CTD by KIN28 enhances BUR1/BUR2 recruitment and Ser2 CTD phosphorylation near promoters.
Cyclin-dependent kinase BUR1/BUR2 appears to be the yeast ortholog of P-TEFb, which phosphorylates Ser2 of the RNA Pol II CTD, but the importance of BUR1/BUR2 in CTD phosphorylation is unclear. We show that BUR1/BUR2 is cotranscriptionally recruited to the 5' end of ARG1 in a manner stimulated by interaction of the BUR1 C terminus with CTD repeats phosphorylated on Ser5 by KIN28. Impairing BUR1/BUR2 function, or removing the CTD-interaction domain in BUR1, reduces Ser2 phosphorylation in bulk Pol II and eliminates the residual Ser2P in cells lacking the major Ser2 CTD kinase, CTK1. Impairing BUR1/BUR2 or CTK1 evokes a similar reduction of Ser2P in Pol II phosphorylated on Ser5 and in elongating Pol II near the ARG1 promoter. By contrast, CTK1 is responsible for the bulk of Ser2P in total Pol II and at promoter-distal sites. In addition to phosphorylating Ser2 near promoters, BUR1/BUR2 also stimulates Ser2P formation by CTK1 during transcription elongation.