Tfb6, a previously unidentified subunit of the general transcription factor TFIIH, facilitates dissociation of Ssl2 helicase after transcription initiation.
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.