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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2000 Jun;12(3):320-5.

Snapshots of RNA polymerase II transcription initiation.

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  • 1Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Several papers published within the last year utilize innovative techniques for characterizing intermediates in RNA polymerase II transcription. Structural studies of polymerase and its associated factors provide a detailed picture of the transcription machinery, and studies of transcription complex assembly both in vitro and in vivo provide insights into the mechanism of gene expression. A high resolution picture of the transcription complex is likely to be available within the foreseeable future. The challenge is to determine the roles of individual proteins within this surprisingly large molecular machine.

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