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The C-terminal domain (CTD) of the large subunit of RNA polymerase (pol) II comprises conserved heptad repeats, and post-translational modification of the CTD regulates transcription and cotranscriptional RNA processing. Recently, the spatial patterns of modification of the CTD repeats have been investigated, and new functions of CTD modification have been revealed. In addition, there are new insights into the roles of the enzymes that decorate the CTD. We review these new findings and reassess the role of the pol II CTD in the regulation of gene expression.

Original publication




Journal article


Nature structural & molecular biology

Publication Date





771 - 777


Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.


Animals, Humans, DNA Polymerase II, Protein Subunits, Transcription, Genetic, Gene Expression Regulation, Protein Processing, Post-Translational, Consensus Sequence, Phosphorylation, Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 9, Protein Domains