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Transcription fidelity and its roles in the cell

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Pamela Gamba, Professor Nikolay ZenkinORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2017 The Authors Accuracy of transcription is essential for productive gene expression, and the past decade has brought new understanding of the mechanisms ensuring transcription fidelity. The discovery of a new catalytic domain, the Trigger Loop, revealed that RNA polymerase can actively choose the correct substrates. Also, the intrinsic proofreading activity was found to proceed via a ribozyme-like mechanism, whereby the erroneous nucleoside triphosphate (NTP) helps its own excision. Factor-assisted proofreading was shown to proceed through an exchange of active centres, a unique phenomenon among proteinaceous enzymes. Furthermore, most recent in vivo studies have revised the roles of transcription accuracy and proofreading factors, as not only required for production of errorless RNAs, but also for prevention of frequent misincorporation-induced pausing that may cause conflicts with fellow RNA polymerases and the replication machinery.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gamba P, Zenkin N

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Current Opinion in Microbiology

Year: 2018

Volume: 42

Pages: 13-18

Print publication date: 01/04/2018

Online publication date: 29/09/2017

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

ISSN (print): 1369-5274

ISSN (electronic): 1879-0364

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.mib.2017.08.004