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Effective synthesis of mammalian messenger (m)RNAs depends on many factors that together direct RNA polymerase II (pol II) through the different stages of the transcription cycle and ensure efficient co-transcriptional processing of mRNAs. In addition to the many proteins involved in transcription initiation, elongation and termination, several non-coding (nc)RNAs also function as global transcriptional regulators. Understanding the mode of action of these non-protein regulators has been an intense area of research in recent years. Here, we describe how these ncRNAs influence key regulatory steps of the transcription process, to affect large numbers of genes. Through direct association with pol II or by modulating the activity of transcription or RNA processing factors, these regulatory RNAs perform critical roles in gene expression.


Journal article


Trends in Genetics



Publication Date



Shona Murphy, University of Oxford, Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3RE, United Kingdom


regulatory RNAs, gene expression, eRNA, B2 RNA, 7SK RNA, U1 snRNP