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Cell Rep. 2012 Nov 29;2(5):1129-36. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2012.09.031. Epub 2012 Nov 1.

Transcriptional elongation factor elongin A regulates retinoic acid-induced gene expression during neuronal differentiation.

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Department of Functional Genomics, Kochi Medical School, Kohasu, Oko-cho, Nankoku, Kochi 783-8505, Japan.


Elongin A increases the rate of RNA polymerase II (pol II) transcript elongation by suppressing transient pausing by the enzyme. Elongin A also acts as a component of a cullin-RING ligase that can target stalled pol II for ubiquitylation and proteasome-dependent degradation. It is not known whether these activities of Elongin A are functionally interdependent in vivo. Here, we demonstrate that Elongin A-deficient (Elongin A(-/-)) embryos exhibit abnormalities in the formation of both cranial and spinal nerves and that Elongin A(-/-) embryonic stem cells (ESCs) show a markedly decreased capacity to differentiate into neurons. Moreover, we identify Elongin A mutations that selectively inactivate one or the other of the aforementioned activities and show that mutants that retain the elongation stimulatory, but not pol II ubiquitylation, activity of Elongin A rescue neuronal differentiation and support retinoic acid-induced upregulation of a subset of neurogenesis-related genes in Elongin A(-/-) ESCs.

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