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Mechanism of Eukaryotic RNA Polymerase III Transcription Termination

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Science  28 Jun 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6140, pp. 1577-1580
DOI: 10.1126/science.1237934

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Stopping Transcription

It is as important to terminate any biological process as it is to start it. Transcription, copying information encoded in genes into RNA, requires accurate and timely termination. Nielsen et al. (p. 1577) present a mechanism for transcription termination by RNA polymerase III, the enzyme that synthesizes the majority of RNA molecules in eukaryotes. In this scenario, the folding of the RNA as it is transcribed by polymerase into a highly structured transcript causes termination at the end of its synthesis. This mechanism may serve as a control of proper folding of structural or catalytic RNAs synthesized by RNA polymerase III. Comparison with other organisms suggests that this mechanism emerged before divergence of bacteria and eukaryotes.