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J Biol Chem. 1992 Aug 5;267(22):15516-22.

The RNA polymerase II elongation complex. Factor-dependent transcription elongation involves nascent RNA cleavage.

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Graduate Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322.


Regulation of transcription elongation is an important mechanism in controlling eukaryotic gene expression. SII is an RNA polymerase II-binding protein that stimulates transcription elongation and also activates nascent transcript cleavage by RNA polymerase II in elongation complexes in vitro (Reines, D. (1992) J. Biol. Chem. 267, 3795-3800). Here we show that SII-dependent in vitro transcription through an arrest site in a human gene is preceded by nascent transcript cleavage. RNA cleavage appeared to be an obligatory step in the SII activation process. Recombinant SII activated cleavage while a truncated derivative lacking polymerase binding activity did not. Cleavage was not restricted to an elongation complex arrested at this particular site, showing that nascent RNA hydrolysis is a general property of RNA polymerase II elongation complexes. These data support a model whereby SII stimulates elongation via a ribonuclease activity of the elongation complex.

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