Reference: Kaplan CD (2013) Basic mechanisms of RNA polymerase II activity and alteration of gene expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Biochim Biophys Acta 1829(1):39-54

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Abstract


Transcription by RNA polymerase II (Pol II), and all RNA polymerases for that matter, may be understood as comprising two cycles. The first cycle relates to the basic mechanism of the transcription process wherein Pol II must select the appropriate nucleoside triphosphate (NTP) substrate complementary to the DNA template, catalyze phosphodiester bond formation, and translocate to the next position on the DNA template. Performing this cycle in an iterative fashion allows the synthesis of RNA chains that can be over one million nucleotides in length in some larger eukaryotes. Overlaid upon this enzymatic cycle, transcription may be divided into another cycle of three phases: initiation, elongation, and termination. Each of these phases has a large number of associated transcription factors that function to promote or regulate the gene expression process. Complicating matters, each phase of the latter transcription cycle are coincident with cotranscriptional RNA processing events. Additionally, transcription takes place within a highly dynamic and regulated chromatin environment. This chromatin environment is radically impacted by active transcription and associated chromatin modifications and remodeling, while also functioning as a major platform for Pol II regulation. This review will focus on our basic knowledge of the Pol II transcription mechanism, and how altered Pol II activity impacts gene expression in vivo in the model eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: RNA Polymerase II Transcript Elongation.

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Kaplan CD
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