General transcription factor TFIIH, previously described as a 10-subunit complex, is essential for transcription and DNA repair. An eleventh subunit now identified, termed Tfb6, exhibits 45% sequence similarity to human nuclear mRNA export factor 5. Tfb6 dissociates from TFIIH as a heterodimer with the Ssl2 subunit, a DNA helicase that drives promoter melting for the initiation of transcription. Tfb6 does not, however, dissociate Ssl2 from TFIIH in the context of a fully assembled transcription preinitiation complex. Our findings suggest a dynamic state of Ssl2, allowing its engagement in multiple cellular processes.
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