Elongation by RNA polymerase II on chromatin templates requires topoisomerase activity

Mondal, Neelima ; Zhang, Ye ; Jonsson, Zophonias ; Dhar, Suman Kumar ; Kannapiran, Madhu ; Parvin, Jeffrey D. (2003) Elongation by RNA polymerase II on chromatin templates requires topoisomerase activity Nucleic Acids Research, 31 (17). pp. 5016-5024. ISSN 1362-4962


Official URL: http://nar.oxfordjournals.org/content/31/17/5016.s...

Related URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkg705


Transcription on chromatin by RNA polymerase II (pol II) is repressed as compared with transcription on histone‐free DNA. In this study, we show that human topoisomerase I (topo I) and yeast topoisomerase II (topo II), each of which relax both positive and negative superhelical tension, reverse the transcriptional repression by chromatin. In the presence of bacterial topo I, which can relax only negative superhelical tension, the transcription is repressed on chromatin templates. The data together shows that the relaxation of positive superhelical tension by these enzymes was the key property required for RNA synthesis from chromatin templates. In the absence of topoisomerase, transcriptional repression on chromatin depended on RNA length. The synthesis of transcripts of 100 nt or shorter was unaffected by chromatin, but repression was apparent when the RNA transcript was 200 nt or longer. These findings suggest that transcription on chromatin templates results in the accumulation of positive superhelical tension by the elongating polymerase, which in turn inhibits further elongation in the absence of topoisomerase activity.

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