Indexed on: 16 Feb '19Published on: 16 Feb '19Published in: Molecular Cell
The C-terminal domain (CTD) of RNA polymerase II (Pol II) is composed of repeats of the consensus YSPTSPS and is an essential binding scaffold for transcription-associated factors. Metazoan CTDs have well-conserved lengths and sequence compositions arising from the evolution of divergent motifs, features thought to be essential for development. On the contrary, we show that a truncated CTD composed solely of YSPTSPS repeats supports Drosophila viability but that a CTD with enough YSPTSPS repeats to match the length of the wild-type Drosophila CTD is defective. Furthermore, a fluorescently tagged CTD lacking the rest of Pol II dynamically enters transcription compartments, indicating that the CTD functions as a signal sequence. However, CTDs with too many YSPTSPS repeats are more prone to localize to static nuclear foci separate from the chromosomes. We propose that the sequence complexity of the CTD offsets aberrant behavior caused by excessive repetitive sequences without compromising its targeting function. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.