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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2015 Mar;16(3):167-77. doi: 10.1038/nrm3953. Epub 2015 Feb 18.

Getting up to speed with transcription elongation by RNA polymerase II.

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University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Department of Genetics, Groningen, the Netherlands.
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University, 416 Biotechnology Building, 14853, Ithaca, New York, USA.


Recent advances in sequencing techniques that measure nascent transcripts and that reveal the positioning of RNA polymerase II (Pol II) have shown that the pausing of Pol II in promoter-proximal regions and its release to initiate a phase of productive elongation are key steps in transcription regulation. Moreover, after the release of Pol II from the promoter-proximal region, elongation rates are highly dynamic throughout the transcription of a gene, and vary on a gene-by-gene basis. Interestingly, Pol II elongation rates affect co-transcriptional processes such as splicing, termination and genome stability. Increasing numbers of factors and regulatory mechanisms have been associated with the steps of transcription elongation by Pol II, revealing that elongation is a highly complex process. Elongation is thus now recognized as a key phase in the regulation of transcription by Pol II.

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