Transcription through the roadblocks: The role of RNA polymerase cooperation

Vitaly Epshtein, Francine Toulmé, A. Rachid Rahmouni, Sergei Borukhov, Evgeny Nudler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


During transcription, cellular RNA polymerases (RNAP) have to deal with numerous potential roadblocks imposed by various DNA binding proteins. Many such proteins partially or completely interrupt a single round of RNA chain elongation in vitro. Here we demonstrate that Escherichia coli RNAP can effectively read through the site-specific DNA-binding proteins in vitro and in vivo if more than one RNAP molecule is allowed to initiate from the same promoter. The anti-roadblock activity of the trailing RNAP does not require transcript cleavage activity but relies on forward translocation of roadblocked complexes. These results support a cooperation model of transcription whereby RNAP molecules behave as 'partners' helping one another to traverse intrinsic and extrinsic obstacles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4719-4727
Number of pages9
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 15 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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