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Elife. 2016 May 3;5. pii: e13617. doi: 10.7554/eLife.13617.

RNA Polymerase II cluster dynamics predict mRNA output in living cells.

Author information

1
Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, United States.
2
Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, United States.

Abstract

Protein clustering is a hallmark of genome regulation in mammalian cells. However, the dynamic molecular processes involved make it difficult to correlate clustering with functional consequences in vivo. We developed a live-cell super-resolution approach to uncover the correlation between mRNA synthesis and the dynamics of RNA Polymerase II (Pol II) clusters at a gene locus. For endogenous β-actin genes in mouse embryonic fibroblasts, we observe that short-lived (~8 s) Pol II clusters correlate with basal mRNA output. During serum stimulation, a stereotyped increase in Pol II cluster lifetime correlates with a proportionate increase in the number of mRNAs synthesized. Our findings suggest that transient clustering of Pol II may constitute a pre-transcriptional regulatory event that predictably modulates nascent mRNA output.

KEYWORDS:

RNA Polymerase II; biophysics; bursting; chromosomes; clustering; gene expression; genes; mRNA; mouse; structural biology; transcription

PMID:
27138339
PMCID:
PMC4929003
DOI:
10.7554/eLife.13617
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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