Post-translational modifications of the transcription elongation complex provide mechanisms to fine-tune gene expression, yet their specific impacts on RNA polymerase II regulation remain difficult to ascertain. Here, in Schizosaccharomyces pombe, we examine the role of Cdk9, and related Mcs6/Cdk7 and Lsk1/Cdk12 kinases, on transcription at base-pair resolution with Precision Run-On sequencing (PRO-seq). Within a minute of Cdk9 inhibition, phosphorylation of Pol II-associated factor, Spt5 is undetectable. The effects of Cdk9 inhibition are more severe than inhibition of Cdk7 and Cdk12, resulting in a shift of Pol II toward the transcription start site (TSS). A time course of Cdk9 inhibition reveals that early transcribing Pol II can escape promoter-proximal regions, but with a severely reduced elongation rate of only ~400 bp/min. Our results in fission yeast suggest the existence of a conserved global regulatory checkpoint that requires Cdk9 kinase activity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)