RNA polymerase II (Pol II) is the central enzyme that catalyses DNA- directed mRNA synthesis during the transcription of protein-coding genes. Pol II consists of a 10-subunit catalytic core, which alone is capable of elongating the RNA transcript, and a complex of two subunits, Rpb4/7, that is required for transcription initiation.
The transcription cycle is divided in three major phases: initiation, elongation, and termination. Transcription initiation include promoter DNA binding, DNA melting, and initial synthesis of short RNA transcripts. The transition from initiation to elongation, is referred to as promoter escape and leads to a stable elongation complex that is characterized by an open DNA region or transcription bubble. The bubble contains the DNA-RNA hybrid, a heteroduplex of eight to nine base pairs. The growing 3-end of the RNA is engaged with the polymerase complex active site. Ultimately transcription terminates and Pol II dissocitates from the template.