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Cell. 1994 Jun 3;77(5):749-59.

Transcriptional elongation by RNA polymerase II is stimulated by transactivators.

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Molecular Genetics of Differentiation Laboratory, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, England.


We report that a variety of transactivators stimulate elongation by RNA polymerase II. Activated transcription complexes have high processivity and are able to read through pausing and termination sites efficiently. In contrast, nonactivated and "squelched" transcription mostly arrests prematurely. Activators differ in the extent to which they stimulate processivity; for example, GAL4-VP16 and GAL4-E1a are more effective than GAL4-AH. The stimulation of elongation can be as important as the stimulation of initiation in activating expression of a reporter gene. We suggest that setting the competence of polymerase II to elongate is an integral part of the initiation step that is controlled by activators cooperating with the general transcription factors.

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