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Transcription through early-elongation checkpoints requires phosphorylation of negative transcription elongation factors (NTEFs) by the cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 9. Using CDK9 inhibitors and global run-on sequencing (GRO-seq), we have mapped CDK9 inhibitor-sensitive checkpoints genome wide in human cells. Our data indicate that early-elongation checkpoints are a general feature of RNA polymerase (pol) II-transcribed human genes and occur independently of polymerase stalling. Pol II that has negotiated the early-elongation checkpoint can elongate in the presence of inhibitors but, remarkably, terminates transcription prematurely close to the terminal polyadenylation (poly(A)) site. Our analysis has revealed an unexpected poly(A)-associated elongation checkpoint, which has major implications for the regulation of gene expression. Interestingly, the pattern of modification of the C-terminal domain of pol II terminated at this new checkpoint largely mirrors the pattern normally found downstream of the poly(A) site, thus suggesting common mechanisms of termination.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Struct Mol Biol

Publication Date





396 - 403


Base Sequence, Cell Line, Tumor, Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 9, Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (Phosphorylating), HEK293 Cells, HeLa Cells, Humans, Peptide Chain Elongation, Translational, Promoter Regions, Genetic, RNA Interference, RNA Polymerase II, RNA, Small Interfering, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Transcription, Genetic