Control of RNA biogenesis by promoter-proximal transcription termination


  • Dr Steven West

    University of Exeter, United Kingdom

Project summary

The human genome contains thousands of genes that code for proteins, which are the building blocks of life. The first step in gene expression is called transcription. During transcription, an RNA copy of the gene is made by RNA polymerase II. A fully-functional RNA requires transcription to go from the beginning to the end of a gene, but we hypothesise that transcription is often terminated early. This premature termination can control gene expression because RNA polymerase II must evade it to make a fully-functional RNA. Our research programme will uncover the proteins involved in premature termination, show how they promote this process and determine the extent to which it controls gene expression. We will also test whether premature termination influences the pluripotency of mammalian stem cells. Our overall vision is that transcriptional termination is a critical feature of gene expression control.