Lykke-Andersen S, Žumer K, Molska EŠ, Rouvière JO, Wu G, Demel C, Schwalb B, Schmid M, Cramer P, Jensen TH
Mol Cell. 2020 Dec 23:S1097-2765(20)30906-0.
Termination of RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) transcription in metazoans relies largely on the cleavage and polyadenylation (CPA) and integrator (INT) complexes originally found to act at the ends of protein-coding and small nuclear RNA (snRNA) genes, respectively. Here, we monitor CPA- and INT-dependent termination activities genome-wide, including at thousands of previously unannotated transcription units (TUs), producing unstable RNA. We verify the global activity of CPA occurring at pA sites indiscriminately of their positioning relative to the TU promoter. We also identify a global activity of INT, which is largely sequence-independent and restricted to a ~3-kb promoter-proximal region. Our analyses suggest two functions of genome-wide INT activity: it dampens transcriptional output from weak promoters, and it provides quality control of RNAPII complexes that are unfavorably configured for transcriptional elongation. We suggest that the function of INT in stable snRNA production is an exception from its general cellular role, the attenuation of non-productive transcription.