RNA polymerase backtracking in gene regulation and genome instability

Cell. 2012 Jun 22;149(7):1438-45. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.06.003.


RNA polymerase is a ratchet machine that oscillates between productive and backtracked states at numerous DNA positions. Since its first description 15 years ago, backtracking--the reversible sliding of RNA polymerase along DNA and RNA--has been implicated in many critical processes in bacteria and eukaryotes, including the control of transcription elongation, pausing, termination, fidelity, and genome instability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / metabolism*
  • Eukaryota / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genomic Instability
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases