Ubiquitylation and degradation of elongating RNA polymerase II: the last resort

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013 Jan;1829(1):151-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2012.08.002. Epub 2012 Aug 31.


During its journey across a gene, RNA polymerase II has to contend with a number of obstacles to its progression, including nucleosomes, DNA-binding proteins, DNA damage, and sequences that are intrinsically difficult to transcribe. Not surprisingly, a large number of elongation factors have evolved to ensure that transcription stalling or arrest does not occur. If, however, the polymerase cannot be restarted, it becomes poly-ubiquitylated and degraded by the proteasome. This process is highly regulated, ensuring that only RNAPII molecules that cannot otherwise be salvaged are degraded. In this review, we describe the mechanisms and factors responsible for the last resort mechanism of transcriptional elongation. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: RNA polymerase II Transcript Elongation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Damage / genetics
  • DNA Damage / physiology
  • DNA Repair / genetics
  • DNA Repair / physiology
  • Genomic Instability / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Proteolysis*
  • RNA Polymerase II / chemistry
  • RNA Polymerase II / metabolism*
  • RNA Polymerase II / physiology
  • Transcription Elongation, Genetic / physiology*
  • Ubiquitination / genetics
  • Ubiquitination / physiology*


  • RNA Polymerase II