Locus-specific variation in phosphorylation state of RNA polymerase II in vivo: correlations with gene activity and transcript processing.
To investigate functional differences between RNA polymerases IIA and IIO (Pol IIA and Pol IIO), with hypo- and hyperphosphorylated carboxy-terminal repeat domains (CTDs), respectively, we have visualized the in vivo distributions of the differentially phosphorylated forms of Pol II on Drosophila polytene chromosomes. Using phosphorylation state-sensitive antibodies and immunofluorescence microscopy with digital imaging, we find Pol IIA and Pol IIO arrayed in markedly different, locus- and condition-specific patterns. Major ecdysone-induced puffs, for example, stain exclusively for Pol IIO, indicating that hyperphosphorylated Pol II is the transcriptionally active form of the enzyme on these genes. In striking contrast, induced heat shock puffs stain strongly for both Pol IIA and Pol IIO, suggesting that heat shock genes are transcribed by a mixture of hypo- and hyperphosphorylated forms of Pol II. At the insertion sites of a transposon carrying a hybrid hsp70-lacZ transgene, we observe only Pol IIA before heat shock induction, consistent with the idea that Pol II arrested on the hsp70 gene is form IIA. After a 90-sec heat shock, we detect heat shock factor (HSF) at the transposon insertion sites; and after a 5-min shock its spatial distribution on the induced transgene puffs is clearly resolved from that of Pol II. Finally, using antibodies to hnRNP proteins and splicing components, we have discerned an apparent overall correlation between the presence and processing of nascent transcripts and the presence of Pol IIO.
Weeks, JR; Hardin, SE; Shen, J; Lee, JM; Greenleaf, AL
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