Binding surfaces of elongation and termination factors on Pol II overlap. Pol II crystal structure with Spt4/5 (PDB ID: 5XON ) (pink) showing mapped positions of lysine-lysine cross-links (turquoise spheres) between Pol II subunits (grey) and termination factor Seb1.
The findings, from Dr Vasilieva's group in collaboration with colleagues in the Department of Chemistry, are published in Cell Reports (1) and demonstrate that conserved mechanisms are used at different steps of transcription. The work will help to fill the gaps in our understanding of how RNA polymerase II is released at the end of transcription.
All three stages of the transcription cycle of mRNAs - initiation, elongation and termination - are tightly regulated. The multi-protein complex RNA polymerase II (Pol II) interacts with a different set of factors to regulate the transition between these stages. The factors modulate how Pol II behaves, changing its ability to interact with DNA, incorporate nucleotides or pause.