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Genetics Research International
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 206290, 7 pages
Review Article

The Transition of Poised RNA Polymerase II to an Actively Elongating State Is a “Complex” Affair

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1870, USA

Received 24 June 2011; Accepted 31 July 2011

Academic Editor: Sebastián Chávez

Copyright © 2011 Marie N. Yearling et al. 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 initial discovery of the occupancy of RNA polymerase II at certain genes prior to their transcriptional activation occurred a quarter century ago in Drosophila. The preloading of these poised complexes in this inactive state is now apparent in many different organisms across the evolutionary spectrum and occurs at a broad and diverse set of genes. In this paper, we discuss the genetic and biochemical efforts in S. cerevisiae to describe the conversion of these poised transcription complexes to the active state for productive elongation. The accumulated evidence demonstrates that a multitude of coactivators and chromatin remodeling complexes are essential for this transition.