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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 14, Issue 4, Pages 283-292

Applications of Recombinant Dna Technology in Gastrointestinal Medicine and Hepatology: Basic Paradigms of Molecular Cell Biology. Part B: Eukaryotic Gene Transcription and Post-Transcripional Rna Processing

Gary E Wild,1 Patrizia Papalia,1 Mark J Ropeleski,1 Julio Faria,1 and Alan BR Thomson2

1Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, McGill University Health Centre and McGill University Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research Program, Canada
2Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Received 23 March 1999; Revised 15 July 1999

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The transcription of DNA into RNA is the primary level at which gene expression is controlled in eukaryotic cells. Eukaryotic gene transcription  involves several different RNA polymerases that interact with a host of transcription factors to initiate transcription. Genes that encode proteins are transcribed into messenger RNA (mRNA) by RNA polymerase II. Ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs) and transfer RNAs (tRNAs) are transcribed by RNA polymerase I and III, respectively.  The production of each mRNA in human cells involves complex interactions of proteins (ie, trans-acting factors) with specific sequences on the DNA (ie, cis-acting elements). Cis-acting elements are short base sequences adjacent to or within a particular gene. While the regulation of transcription is a pivotal step in the control of gene expression, a variety of molecular events, collectively known as ’RNA processing’  add an additional level of control of gene expression in eukaryotic cells.