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RNA polymerase II promoter-proximal pausing in mammalian long non-coding genes

Bunch H et al.

Mammalian genomes encode a large number of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) that greatly exceed mRNA genes. While the physiological and pathological roles of ncRNAs have been increasingly understood, the mechanisms of regulation of ncRNA expression are less clear. Here, our genomic study has shown that a significant number of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs, >1000 nucleotides) harbor RNA polymerase II (Pol II) engaged with the transcriptional start site. A pausing and transcriptional elongation factor for protein-coding genes, tripartite motif-containing 28 (TRIM28) regulates the transcription of a subset of lncRNAs in mammalian cells. In addition, the majority of lncRNAs in human and murine cells regulated by Pol II promoter-proximal pausing appear to function in stimulus-inducible biological pathways. Our findings suggest an important role of Pol II pausing for the transcription of mammalian lncRNA genes.

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August, 2016


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