Spt4 facilitates the movement of RNA polymerase II through the +2 nucleosomal barrier.
Uzun Ü., Brown T., Fischl H., Angel A., Mellor J.
Spt4 is a transcription elongation factor with homologs in organisms with nucleosomes. Structural and in vitro studies implicate Spt4 in transcription through nucleosomes, and yet the in vivo function of Spt4 is unclear. Here, we assess the precise position of Spt4 during transcription and the consequences of the loss of Spt4 on RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) dynamics and nucleosome positioning in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In the absence of Spt4, the spacing between gene-body nucleosomes increases and RNAPII accumulates upstream of the nucleosomal dyad, most dramatically at nucleosome +2. Spt4 associates with elongating RNAPII early in transcription, and its association dynamically changes depending on nucleosome positions. Together, our data show that Spt4 regulates early elongation dynamics, participates in co-transcriptional nucleosome positioning, and promotes RNAPII movement through the gene-body nucleosomes, especially the +2 nucleosome.