Molecular dissection of mammalian RNA polymerase II transcriptional termination

Mol Cell. 2008 Mar 14;29(5):600-10. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2007.12.019.


Transcriptional termination of mammalian RNA polymerase II (Pol II) is an essential but little-understood step in protein-coding gene expression. Mechanistically, termination by all DNA-dependent RNA polymerases can be reduced to two steps, namely release of the RNA transcript and release of the DNA template. Using a simple nuclear fractionation procedure, we have monitored transcript and template release in the context of both natural and artificial Pol II terminator sequences. We describe the timing and relationship between these events and in so doing establish the roles of the poly(A) signal, cotranscriptional RNA cleavage events, and 5'-3' exonucleolytic RNA degradation in the mammalian Pol II termination process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Globins / genetics
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • RNA Polymerase II / genetics
  • RNA Polymerase II / metabolism*
  • RNA Precursors / genetics
  • RNA Precursors / metabolism
  • RNA* / chemistry
  • RNA* / genetics
  • RNA* / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • RNA Precursors
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA
  • Globins
  • RNA Polymerase II