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Trends Biochem Sci. 2008 Jun;33(6):265-73. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2008.04.006. Epub 2008 May 6.

Genome-wide RNA polymerase II: not genes only!

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Centre d'Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy, Université Aix-Marseille, CNRS UMR6102, Inserm U631, Marseille, France.


RNA polymerase (Pol) II transcriptional regulation is an essential process for guiding eukaryotic gene expression. Early in vitro studies deciphered the essential steps for transcription, including recruitment, initiation, elongation and termination. Based on these findings, the idea emerged that Pol II should essentially be located on promoters or genic regions of transcribed genes. The development of in vivo localization protocols has enabled the investigation of genome-wide Pol II occupancy. Recent studies from yeast to human show that Pol II can be poised at the transcription start site or can be located outside of gene-coding regions, sometimes dependent on the growth or differentiation stage. These recent results regarding Pol II genomic location and transcription challenge our classical views of transcriptional regulation.

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