The conserved, multifunctional Polymerase-Associated Factor 1 complex (Paf1C) regulates all stages of the RNA polymerase (Pol) II transcription cycle. In this review, we examine a diverse set of recent studies from various organisms that build on foundational studies in budding yeast. These studies identify new roles for Paf1C in the control of gene expression and the regulation of chromatin structure. In exploring these advances, we find that various functions of Paf1C, such as the regulation of promoter-proximal pausing and development in higher eukaryotes, are complex and context dependent. As more becomes known about the role of Paf1C in human disease, interest in the molecular mechanisms underpinning Paf1C function will continue to increase.
Keywords: Paf1 complex; RNA polymerase II; histone modifications; transcription elongation.
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