An apparent pause site in the transcription unit of the rabbit α-globin gene

David J. Vandenbergh, Magdalena James-Pederson, Ross C. Hardison

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11 Scopus citations


Transcription of the rabbit α-globin gene begins primarily at the cap site, although some upstream start sites are also observed. Analysis by RNA polymerase run-on assays in nuclei shows that transcription continues at a high level past the polyadenylation site, after which the polymerase density actually increases in a region of about 400 nucleotides, followed by a gradual decline over the 700 nucleotides. These features are also observed in the transcription unit of the rabbit β-globin gene. The region with the unexpectedly high nascent RNA hybridization signal in the 3' flank contains a conserved sequence, KGCAGCWGGR (K = G or T, W = A or T, R = A or G), followed by an inverted repeat. The inverted repeat (perhaps with the conserved sequence) may be a pause site for RNA polymerase II, thus accounting for the increase in polymerase density. This sequence and inverted repeat are found in the 3′ flank of several globin genes and the simian virus 40 (SV40) early genes, as well as in the regions implicated in pausing or termination of transcription of eight different genes. Deletion of the conserved sequence and inverted repeat from the 3′ flank of the SV40 early region causes a small increase in the levels of transcription downstream from this site. Replacement with the conserved sequence and inverted repeat from the rabbit α-globin gene causes an accumulation of polymerases, supporting the hypothesis that polymerases pause at this site. This proposed pause site may affect the efficiency of termination at some sites further downstream, perhaps by loss of a processivity factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-270
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 20 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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