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EMBO J. 1989 Mar;8(3):851-61.

Function of the mammalian La protein: evidence for its action in transcription termination by RNA polymerase III.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510.


We have tested the hypothesis that the mammalian La protein, which appears to be required for accurate and efficient RNA polymerase III transcription, is a transcription termination factor. Our data suggest that 3' foreshortened transcripts generated in La's absence are components of a novel transcription intermediate containing a paused polymerase. These transcripts are produced by fractionated transcription complexes, are synthesized with kinetics different from full-length transcripts, and are chasable to completion from the stalled transcription complexes. Together, these findings argue that termination by RNA polymerase III requires auxilliary factor(s) and implicate La as such a factor. Since La appears to facilitate transcript completion and release and also binds the resulting RNA product, it may be a regulator of RNA polymerase III transcription.

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