Enhancer transcription: what, where, when, and why?

Tippens ND, Vihervaara A, Lis JT

Genes Dev. 32 (1) 1-3 [2018-01-01; online 2018-02-15]

Following the discovery of widespread enhancer transcription, enhancers and promoters have been found to be far more similar than previously thought. In this issue of Genes & Development, two studies (Henriques and colleagues [pp. 26-41] and Mikhaylichenko and colleagues [pp. 42-57]) shine new light on the transcriptional nature of promoters and enhancers in Drosophila Together, these studies support recent work in mammalian cells that indicates that most active enhancers drive local transcription using factors and mechanisms similar to those of promoters. Intriguingly, enhancer transcription is shown to be coordinated by SPT5- and P-TEFb-mediated pause-release, but the pause half-life is shorter, and termination is more rapid at enhancers than at promoters. Moreover, bidirectional transcription from promoters is associated with enhancer activity, lending further credence to models in which regulatory elements exist along a spectrum of promoter-ness and enhancer-ness. We propose a general unified model to explain possible functions of transcription at enhancers.

Anniina Vihervaara

SciLifeLab Fellow

PubMed 29440223

DOI 10.1101/gad.311605.118

Crossref 10.1101/gad.311605.118

pmc: PMC5828389
pii: 32/1/1
medline: 8711660

Publications 9.5.0