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The transcription cycle of RNA polymerase II in living cells.

Authors
  • Kimura, Hiroshi
  • Sugaya, Kimihiko
  • Cook, Peter R
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Journal of cell biology
Publication Date
Dec 09, 2002
Volume
159
Issue
5
Pages
777–782
Identifiers
PMID: 12473686
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

RNA polymerase II transcribes most eukaryotic genes. Its catalytic subunit was tagged with green fluorescent protein and expressed in Chinese hamster cells bearing a mutation in the same subunit; it complemented the defect and so was functional. Photobleaching revealed two kinetic fractions of polymerase in living nuclei: approximately 75% moved rapidly, but approximately 25% was transiently immobile (association t1/2 approximately 20 min) and transcriptionally active, as incubation with 5,6-dichloro-1-beta-D-ribofuranosylbenzimidazole eliminated it. No immobile but inactive fraction was detected, providing little support for the existence of a stable holoenzyme, or the slow stepwise assembly of a preinitiation complex on promoters or the nuclear substructure. Actinomycin D decreased the rapidly moving fraction, suggesting that engaged polymerases stall at intercalated molecules while others initiate. When wild-type cells containing only the endogenous enzyme were incubated with [3H]uridine, nascent transcripts became saturated with tritium with similar kinetics (t1/2 approximately 14 min). These data are consistent with a polymerase being mobile for one half to five sixths of a transcription cycle, and rapid assembly into the preinitiation complex. Then, most expressed transcription units would spend significant times unassociated with engaged polymerases.

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