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Review
, 1849 (8), 1116-31

The Core Promoter: At the Heart of Gene Expression

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Review

The Core Promoter: At the Heart of Gene Expression

Yehuda M Danino et al. Biochim Biophys Acta.

Abstract

The identities of different cells and tissues in multicellular organisms are determined by tightly controlled transcriptional programs that enable accurate gene expression. The mechanisms that regulate gene expression comprise diverse multiplayer molecular circuits of multiple dedicated components. The RNA polymerase II (Pol II) core promoter establishes the center of this spatiotemporally orchestrated molecular machine. Here, we discuss transcription initiation, diversity in core promoter composition, interactions of the basal transcription machinery with the core promoter, enhancer-promoter specificity, core promoter-preferential activation, enhancer RNAs, Pol II pausing, transcription termination, Pol II recycling and translation. We further discuss recent findings indicating that promoters and enhancers share similar features and may not substantially differ from each other, as previously assumed. Taken together, we review a broad spectrum of studies that highlight the importance of the core promoter and its pivotal role in the regulation of metazoan gene expression and suggest future research directions and challenges.

Keywords: Core promoter; Core promoter elements/motifs; Core promoter preferential activation; Enhancer-promoter specificity; Gene expression; RNA Pol II transcription.

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