A rule-based kinetic model of RNA polymerase II C-terminal domain phosphorylation

Stuart Aitken, Ross D. Alexander, Jean D. Beggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The complexity of many RNA processing pathways is such that a conventional systems modelling approach is inadequate to represent all the molecular species involved. We demonstrate that rule-based modelling permits a detailed model of a complex RNA signalling pathway to be defined. Phosphorylation of the RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) C-terminal domain (CTD; a flexible tail-like extension of the largest subunit) couples pre-messenger RNA capping, splicing and 3' end maturation to transcriptional elongation and termination, and plays a central role in integrating these processes. The phosphorylation states of the serine residues of many heptapeptide repeats of the CTD alter along the coding region of genes as a function of distance from the promoter. From a mechanistic perspective, both the changes in phosphorylation and the location at which they take place on the genes are a function of the time spent by RNAPII in elongation as this interval provides the opportunity for the kinases and phosphatases to interact with the CTD. On this basis, we synthesize the available data to create a kinetic model of the action of the known kinases and phosphatases to resolve the phosphorylation pathways and their kinetics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20130438
JournalJournal of the Royal Society. Interface
Issue number86
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2013


  • Computer Simulation
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Chemical
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • RNA Polymerase II/chemistry
  • Repetitive Sequences, Amino Acid
  • Transcription Elongation, Genetic


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