The past decade has seen an explosive increase in information about regulation of eukaryotic gene transcription, especially for protein-coding genes. The most striking advances in our knowledge of transcriptional regulation involve the chromatin template, the large complexes recruited by transcriptional activators that regulate chromatin structure and the transcription apparatus, the holoenzyme forms of RNA polymerase II involved in initiation and elongation, and the mechanisms that link mRNA processing with its synthesis. We describe here the major advances in these areas, with particular emphasis on the modular complexes associated with RNA polymerase II that are targeted by activators and other regulators of mRNA biosynthesis.
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