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Genetics Research International
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 623718, 16 pages
Review Article

Updating the CTD Story: From Tail to Epic

Department of Biochemistry and Center for RNA Biology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA

Received 27 June 2011; Accepted 10 August 2011

Academic Editor: Carles Sune

Copyright © 2011 Bartlomiej Bartkowiak 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.


Eukaryotic RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) not only synthesizes mRNA but also coordinates transcription-related processes via its unique C-terminal repeat domain (CTD). The CTD is an RNAPII-specific protein segment consisting of repeating heptads with the consensus sequence Y1S2P3T4S5P6S7 that has been shown to be extensively post-transcriptionally modified in a coordinated, but complicated, manner. Recent discoveries of new modifications, kinases, and binding proteins have challenged previously established paradigms. In this paper, we examine results and implications of recent studies related to modifications of the CTD and the respective enzymes; we also survey characterizations of new CTD-binding proteins and their associated processes and new information regarding known CTD-binding proteins. Finally, we bring into focus new results that identify two additional CTD-associated processes: nucleocytoplasmic transport of mRNA and DNA damage and repair.