Mechanism of transcription initiation and promoter escape by RNA polymerase II

Arik Dvir, Joan Weliky Conaway, Ronald C. Conaway

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


Recently, key advances in biochemical and structural studies of RNA polymerase II (pol II) and the basal transcriptional machinery have shed considerable light on the basic mechanisms underlying the initiation stage of eukaryotic mRNA synthesis. The development of methods for obtaining crystal structures of pol II and its complexes has revolutionized transcriptional studies and holds promise that aspects of initiation will soon be understood at atomic resolution; crosslinking studies have revealed intriguing features of the topology of the pol II initiation complex and provided working models for dynamic steps of initiation; and mechanistic studies have identified promoter escape as a critical step during initiation and brought to light novel roles for the general initiation factors TFIIE, TFIIF, and TFIIH in this process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-214
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Genetics and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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