CDK regulation of transcription by RNAP II: Not over ‘til it’s over?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Transcription by RNA polymerase (RNAP) II is regulated at multiple steps by phosphorylation, catalyzed mainly by members of the cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) family. The CDKs involved in transcription have overlapping substrate specificities, but play largely non-redundant roles in coordinating gene expression. Novel functions and targets of CDKs have recently emerged at the end of the transcription cycle, when the primary transcript is cleaved, and in most cases polyadenylated, and transcription is terminated by the action of the “torpedo” exonuclease Xrn2, which is a CDK substrate. Collectively, various functions have been ascribed to CDKs or CDK-mediated phosphorylation: recruiting cleavage and polyadenylation factors, preventing premature termination within gene bodies while promoting efficient termination of full-length transcripts, and preventing extensive readthrough transcription into intergenic regions or neighboring genes. The assignment of precise functions to specific CDKs is still in progress, but recent advances suggest ways in which the CDK network and RNAP II machinery might cooperate to ensure timely exit from the transcription cycle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-90
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2017


  • C-terminal domain
  • Cyclin-dependent kinase
  • RNA polymerase II
  • RNA processing
  • Xrn2
  • cleavage and polyadenylation
  • positive transcription elongation factor b
  • protein phosphorylation
  • transcription termination


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