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Genet Res Int. 2012;2012:170173. doi: 10.1155/2012/170173. Epub 2012 Jan 29.

Control of Transcriptional Elongation by RNA Polymerase II: A Retrospective.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.


The origins of our current understanding of control of transcription elongation lie in pioneering experiments that mapped RNA polymerase II on viral and cellular genes. These studies first uncovered the surprising excess of polymerase molecules that we now know to be situated at the at the 5' ends of most genes in multicellular organisms. The pileup of pol II near transcription start sites reflects a ubiquitous bottle-neck that limits elongation right at the start of the transcription elongation. Subsequent seminal work identified conserved protein factors that positively and negatively control the flux of polymerase through this bottle-neck, and make a major contribution to control of gene expression.

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