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J Biol Chem. 2008 Apr 11;283(15):9555-61. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M707700200. Epub 2008 Feb 15.

Multiple mechanisms contribute to inhibit transcription in response to DNA damage.

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Department of Biomedical Informatics and the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


Cellular DNA damage elicits the phosphorylation and ubiquitination of RNA polymerase II (RNAPII), leading to the global repression of transcription. In this report we show that there are at least two different pathways to transcriptional repression, depending on the type of DNA damage. After H2O2 treatment, transcription was rapidly inhibited and rapidly restored. On the other hand, UV irradiation caused a much slower transcriptional inhibition, with a corresponding depletion of unphosphorylated RNAPII. We found that after UV treatment, but not treatment with H2O2, the inhibition of transcription was dependent on both the proteasome and new protein synthesis. In addition, RNAPII activity and ubiquitination were regulated through the phosphorylation of RNAPII by the P-TEFb kinase. These results highlight that multiple cellular pathways exist to globally repress transcriptional processes that might interfere with the repair of DNA damage.

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