Signaling to and from the RNA Polymerase III Transcription and Processing Machinery

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53 Scopus citations


RNA polymerase (Pol) III has a specialized role in transcribing the most abundant RNAs in eukaryotic cells, transfer RNAs (tRNAs), along with other ubiquitous small noncoding RNAs, many of which have functions related to the ribosome and protein synthesis. The high energetic cost of producing these RNAs and their central role in protein synthesis underlie the robust regulation of Pol III transcription in response to nutrients and stress by growth regulatory pathways. Downstream of Pol III, signaling impacts posttranscriptional processes affecting tRNA function in translation and tRNA cleavage into smaller fragments that are increasingly attributed with novel cellular activities. In this review, we consider how nutrients and stress control Pol III transcription via its factors and its negative regulator, Maf1. We highlight recent work showing that the composition of the tRNA population and the function of individual tRNAs is dynamically controlled and that unrestrained Pol III transcription can reprogram central metabolic pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-100
Number of pages26
JournalAnnual review of biochemistry
StatePublished - Jun 20 2018


  • RNA polymerase III
  • metabolism
  • regulation
  • signaling
  • tRNA fragments
  • tRNA modification
  • transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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