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Journal Article

Structural basis of transcription initiation by RNA polymerase II.


Cramer,  P.
Department of Molecular Biology, MPI for Biophysical Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Sainsbury, S., Bernecky, C., & Cramer, P. (2015). Structural basis of transcription initiation by RNA polymerase II. Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology, 16(3), 129-143. doi:10.1038/nrm3952.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0024-E213-4
Transcription of eukaryotic protein-coding genes commences with the assembly of a conserved initiation complex, which consists of RNA polymerase II (Pol II) and the general transcription factors, at promoter DNA. After two decades of research, the structural basis of transcription initiation is emerging. Crystal structures of many components of the initiation complex have been resolved, and structural information on Pol II complexes with general transcription factors has recently been obtained. Although mechanistic details await elucidation, available data outline how Pol II cooperates with the general transcription factors to bind to and open promoter DNA, and how Pol II directs RNA synthesis and escapes from the promoter.