Luo M, Lu X, Zhu R, Zhang Z, Chow CC, Li R, Simons SS
NELF-B is a BRCA1-interacting protein and subunit (with NELF-A, -C/D, and -E) of the human negative elongation factor (NELF) complex, which participates in RNA polymerase II pausing shortly after transcription initiation, especially for synchronized gene expression. We now report new activities of NELF-B and other NELF complex subunits, which are to attenuate glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-mediated gene induction, reduce the partial agonist activity of an antagonist, and increase the EC50 of an agonist during non-synchronized expression of exogenous and endogenous reporters. Stable knockdown of endogenous NELF-B has the opposite effects on an exogenous gene. The GR ligand-binding domain suffices for these biological responses. ChIP assays reveal that NELF-B diminishes GR recruitment to promoter regions of two endogenous genes. Using a new competition assay, NELF-A and NELF-B are each shown to act independently as competitive decelerators at two steps after the site of GR action and before or at the site of reporter gene activity. A common motif in each NELF was identified that is required for full activity of both NELF-A and NELF-B. These studies allow us to position the actions of two new modulators of GR-regulated transactivation, NELF-A and NELF-B, relative to other factors in the overall gene induction sequence.