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Trends Biochem Sci. 1990 Oct;15(10):383-7.

Tails of RNA polymerase II.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205.


Eukaryotic RNA polymerase II contains two distinct structural domains: a catalytic core consisting of subunits that are homologous to other multisubunit RNA polymerases, and a unique extension of the carboxy-terminus of the largest subunit comprising tandem repeats of the seven amino acid sequence YSPTSPS. This repetitive 'tail' domain is essential for polymerase function in vivo. Although the nature of this essential function is unknown, actively transcribing RNA polymerase II is known to be multiphosphorylated on this repetitive domain.

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