RNAP II CTD Phosphorylated on Threonine-4 Is Required for Histone mRNA 3′ End Processing

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Science  04 Nov 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6056, pp. 683-686
DOI: 10.1126/science.1206034

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The RNA polymerase II (RNAP II) largest subunit contains a C-terminal domain (CTD) with up to 52 Tyr1-Ser2-Pro3-Thr4-Ser5-Pro6-Ser7 consensus repeats. Serines 2, 5, and 7 are known to be phosphorylated, and these modifications help to orchestrate the interplay between transcription and processing of messenger RNA (mRNA) precursors. Here, we provide evidence that phosphorylation of CTD Thr4 residues is required specifically for histone mRNA 3′ end processing, functioning to facilitate recruitment of 3′ processing factors to histone genes. Like Ser2, Thr4 phosphorylation requires the CTD kinase CDK9 and is evolutionarily conserved from yeast to human. Our data thus illustrate how a CTD modification can play a highly specific role in facilitating efficient gene expression.

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