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The concept of early termination as an important means of transcriptional control has long been established. Even so, its role in metazoan gene expression is underappreciated. Recent technological advances provide novel insights into premature transcription termination (PTT). This process is frequent, widespread, and can occur close to the transcription start site (TSS), or within the gene body. Stable prematurely terminated transcripts contribute to the transcriptome as instances of alternative polyadenylation (APA). Independently of transcript stability and function, premature termination opposes the formation of full-length transcripts, thereby negatively regulating gene expression, especially of transcriptional regulators. Premature termination can be beneficial or harmful, depending on its context. As a result, multiple factors have evolved to control this process.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.tig.2019.05.005

Type

Journal article

Journal

Trends Genet

Publication Date

08/2019

Volume

35

Pages

553 - 564

Keywords

alternative last exon (ALE), alternative polyadenylation (APA), intronic polyadenylation (IPA), premature transcription termination, transcription attenuation