RNA polymerase II bypass of oxidative DNA damage is regulated by transcription elongation factors

Nicolas Charlet-Berguerand, Sascha Feuerhahn, Stephanie E. Kong, Howard Ziserman, Joan W. Conaway, Ronald Conaway, Jean Marc Egly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


Oxidative lesions represent the most abundant DNA lesions within the cell. In the present study, we investigated the impact of the oxidative lesions 8-oxoguanine, thymine glycol and 5-hydroxyuracil on RNA polymerase II (RNA pol II) transcription using a well-defined in vitro transcription system. We found that in a purified, reconstituted transcription system, these lesions block elongation by RNA pol II to different extents, depending on the type of lesion. Suggesting the presence of a bypass activity, the block to elongation is alleviated when transcription is carried out in HeLa cell nuclear extracts. By purifying this activity, we discovered that TFIIF could promote elongation through a thymine glycol lesion. The elongation factors Elongin and CSB, but not TFIIS, can also stimulate bypass of thymine glycol lesions, whereas Elongin, CSB and TFIIS can all enhance bypass of an 8-oxoguanine lesion. By increasing the efficiency with which RNA pol II reads through oxidative lesions, elongation factors can contribute to transcriptional mutagenesis, an activity that could have implications for the generation or progression of human diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5481-5491
Number of pages11
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number23
StatePublished - Nov 29 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Bypass
  • Elongation factors
  • Oxidative DNA damage
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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