RNA polymerase II depletion promotes transcription of alternative mRNA species

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Abstract

Background: Cells respond to numerous internal and external stresses, such as heat, cold, oxidative stress, DNA damage, and osmotic pressure changes. In most cases, the primary response to stress is transcriptional induction of genes that assist the cells in tolerating the stress and facilitate the repair of the cellular damage. However, when the transcription machinery itself is stressed, responding by such standard mechanisms may not be possible. Results: In this study, we demonstrate that depletion or inactivation of RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) changes the preferred polyadenylation site usage for several transcripts, and leads to increased transcription of a specific subset of genes. Surprisingly, depletion of RNA polymerase I (RNAPI) also promotes altered polyadenylation site usage, while depletion of RNA polymerase III (RNAPIII) does not appear to have an impact. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that stressing the transcription machinery by depleting either RNAPI or RNAPII leads to a novel transcriptional response that results in induction of specific mRNAs and altered polyadenylation of many of the induced transcripts.

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Yu, L., Rege, M., Peterson, C. L., & Volkert, M. R. (2016). RNA polymerase II depletion promotes transcription of alternative mRNA species. BMC Molecular Biology, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12867-016-0074-8

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