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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Oct 27;106(43):18357-61. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0902573106. Epub 2009 Oct 13.

A wave of nascent transcription on activated human genes.

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  • 1Laboratory for Systems Biology and Medicine, Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


Genome-wide studies reveal that transcription by RNA polymerase II (Pol II) is dynamically regulated. To obtain a comprehensive view of a single transcription cycle, we switched on transcription of five long human genes (>100 kbp) with tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha) and monitored (using microarrays, RNA fluorescence in situ hybridization, and chromatin immunoprecipitation) the appearance of nascent RNA, changes in binding of Pol II and two insulators (the cohesin subunit RAD21 and the CCCTC-binding factor CTCF), and modifications of histone H3. Activation triggers a wave of transcription that sweeps along the genes at approximately 3.1 kbp/min; splicing occurs cotranscriptionally, a major checkpoint acts several kilobases downstream of the transcription start site to regulate polymerase transit, and Pol II tends to stall at cohesin/CTCF binding sites.

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