SPT6 functions in transcriptional pause/release via PAF1C recruitment

Yuki Aoi, Avani P. Shah, Sheetal Ganesan, Shimaa H.A. Soliman, Byoung Kyu Cho, Young Ah Goo, Neil L. Kelleher, Ali Shilatifard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


It is unclear how various factors functioning in the transcriptional elongation by RNA polymerase II (RNA Pol II) cooperatively regulate pause/release and productive elongation in living cells. Using an acute protein-depletion approach, we report that SPT6 depletion results in the release of paused RNA Pol II into gene bodies through an impaired recruitment of PAF1C. Short genes demonstrate a release with increased mature transcripts, whereas long genes are released but fail to yield mature transcripts, due to a reduced processivity resulting from both SPT6 and PAF1C loss. Unexpectedly, SPT6 depletion causes an association of NELF with the elongating RNA Pol II on gene bodies, without any observed functional significance on transcriptional elongation pattern, arguing against a role for NELF in keeping RNA Pol II in the paused state. Furthermore, SPT6 depletion impairs heat-shock-induced pausing, pointing to a role for SPT6 in regulating RNA Pol II pause/release through PAF1C recruitment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3412-3423.e5
JournalMolecular cell
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 15 2022


  • NELF
  • PAF1
  • RNA polymerase II
  • SPT6
  • chromatin
  • elongation
  • gene expression
  • pause/release
  • promoter-proximal pausing
  • transcription


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