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EMBO J. 1991 Jul;10(7):1833-42.

A pause site for RNA polymerase II is associated with termination of transcription.

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  • 1Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, UK.


Termination of transcription by RNA polymerase II has been postulated to involve a pausing process. We have identified such a pause signal, 350 bp into the 3' flanking region of the human alpha 2 globin gene at a position where termination is thought to occur. We show that this pause signal enhances the utilization of an upstream poly(A) site which is otherwise out-competed by a stronger downstream poly(A) site. We also demonstrate that the pause site rescues a poly(A) site that is inactive due to its location within an intron. Using nuclear run-on analysis we show that elongating RNA polymerase II molecules accumulate over this pause signal. Furthermore we show that when the pause site is positioned immediately downstream of a strong poly(A) signal, significant levels of transcription termination take place.

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