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Cell. 2012 Sep 14;150(6):1147-57. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.08.004.

Microprocessor, Setx, Xrn2, and Rrp6 co-operate to induce premature termination of transcription by RNAPII.

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Laboratoires de Virologie Moléculaire, Institut de Génétique Humaine, CNRS UPR1142, 34396 Montpellier, France.


Transcription elongation is increasingly recognized as an important mechanism of gene regulation. Here, we show that microprocessor controls gene expression in an RNAi-independent manner. Microprocessor orchestrates the recruitment of termination factors Setx and Xrn2, and the 3'-5' exoribonuclease, Rrp6, to initiate RNAPII pausing and premature termination at the HIV-1 promoter through cleavage of the stem-loop RNA, TAR. Rrp6 further processes the cleavage product, which generates a small RNA that is required to mediate potent transcriptional repression and chromatin remodeling at the HIV-1 promoter. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled to high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq), we identified cellular gene targets whose transcription is modulated by microprocessor. Our study reveals RNAPII pausing and premature termination mediated by the co-operative activity of ribonucleases, Drosha/Dgcr8, Xrn2, and Rrp6, as a regulatory mechanism of RNAPII-dependent transcription elongation.

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