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WormBook. 2006 Sep 5:1-16.

Transcription mechanisms.

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  • 1Section on Developmental and Stem Cell Biology, Joslin Diabetes Center, One Joslin Place, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Appropriate regulation of mRNA transcription is central to the differentiation and functions of eukaryotic cells, and to the development of complex organisms. mRNAs are synthesized by the coordinated action of a set of general transcription and mRNA modification factors. These factors and the fundamental mechanisms involved in transcription are conserved among eukaryotes, including C. elegans. Recent studies in various systems have revealed that this apparatus is not controlled through a simple on/off "switch" at the promoter, and that the factors and mechanisms involved in transcription are instead subject to regulation at a surprising number of different levels. In this chapter we will discuss examples in which regulation involving the general mRNA transcription apparatus or other transcription co-factors plays a central role in C. elegans development, and in which C. elegans studies have provided new insights into eukaryotic transcription mechanisms. Together, these studies have shown that regulatory mechanisms that involve the general Pol II machinery are a central participant in many aspects of C. elegans biology.

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