Experiments are described which probe the relationship between three sequence elements which make up the eukaryotic RNA polymerase II promoter. A cloned eukaryotic gene, from which the TATA-box and 400 base pairs of Y-flanking sequence has been deleted, is still transcriptionally active in vivo (following its transfection into cultured mammalian cells) and in vitro. Deletion has appropriately positioned a cluster of five TATA box-like sequences upstream from multiple potential cap sites. Which cap sites are actually used can be predicted from the DNA sequence of TATA box-like sequences and their spatial relationship with respect to possible transcriptional start sites, although there appears to be some difference in cap site utilisation in vitro and in vivo. Data suggest that deletion has also removed “upstream” sequences which affect promoter function.

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