Structure of the complete elongation complex of RNA polymerase II with basal factors

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Science  03 Aug 2017:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan8552

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In the early stage of transcription, eukaryotic RNA polymerase II (Pol II) exchanges initiation factors with elongation factors to form an elongation complex (EC) for processive transcription. Here, we report the structure of the Pol II EC bound with the basal elongation factors Spt4/5, Elf1, and TFIIS. Spt4/5 (the Spt4/Spt5 complex) and Elf1 modify a wide area of the Pol II surface. Elf1 bridges the Pol II central cleft, completing the “DNA entry tunnel” for downstream DNA. Spt4 and the Spt5 NGN and KOW1 domains encircle the upstream DNA, constituting a “DNA exit tunnel”. The Spt5 KOW4 and KOW5 domains augment the “RNA exit tunnel”, directing the exiting nascent RNA. Thus, the EC establishes a completely different transcription/regulation platform from that of the initiation complexes.

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