Imaging RNA Polymerase II transcription sites in living cells

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2014 Apr;25:126-30. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2014.01.002. Epub 2014 May 8.


Over the past twenty years, exciting developments in optical and molecular imaging approaches have allowed researchers to examine with unprecedented resolution the spatial organization of transcription sites in the nucleus. An attractive model that has developed from these studies is that active genes cluster to preformed transcription factories that contain multiple active RNA polymerases and transcription factor proteins required for efficient mRNA biogenesis. However, this model has been extensively debated in part due to the fact transcription factories and their features have only been documented in fixed cells. In this review, we will focus on recent live-cell imaging studies that are changing our understanding of transcription factories.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Survival
  • Humans
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • RNA / chemistry
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA / metabolism
  • RNA Polymerase II / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Transcription Factors
  • RNA
  • RNA Polymerase II