Current Genetics

, Volume 62, Issue 2, pp 317–319 | Cite as

Understanding the regulation of coding and noncoding transcription in cell populations

  • Traude Helene BeilharzEmail author


Whole transcriptome analyses have unveiled the uncomfortable truth that we know less about how transcription is regulated then we thought. In addition to its role in classic promoter-driven transcription of coding RNA, it is now clear that RNA Pol II also drives abundant expression of noncoding RNA. For the majority of this the functional significance remains unclear. Moreover, its regulation and impact are hard to predict because it often proceeds in unexpected ways from cryptic promoters, including by driving convergent antisense transcription from within 3′ UTRs. This review suggests that its time to rethink how we envisage gene expression by inclusion of the regulatory architecture of the full genetic locus, and expanding our thinking to encompass the fact that we generally study cells within heterogeneous populations.


Gene expression RNA metabolism 3′-End formation Noncoding RNA Convergent antisense transcription 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Development and Stem Cells Program, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash Biomedicine Discovery InstituteMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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