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John Lis

Barbara McClintock Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics
Cornell University

The Lis Lab develops and uses many strategies to probe the structure of promoters and genes and the regulation of their activities in living cells. Our model is the heat shock genes, a highly-regulated set of genes that are well-suited for the investigation of inducible mRNA production. We investigate the factors that participate in the heat shock gene induction response, determine when, where, and with whom the factors act during the process of gene activation, and evaluate the functional and structural consequences of rapid inactivation of these factors. The resulting information is critical in establishing molecular models for the various steps in the transcriptional activation of genes and coupled RNA processing events.

Select Publications: 

Rougvie AE, Lis JT. The RNA polymerase II molecule at the 5' end of the uninduced hsp70 gene of D. melanogaster is transcriptionally engaged. Cell. 1988 Sep 9;54(6):795-804.

O'Brien T, Hardin S, Greenleaf A, Lis JT. Phosphorylation of RNA polymerase II C-terminal domain and transcriptional elongation. Nature. 1994 Jul 7;370(6484):75-7.

Lis JT, Mason P, Peng J, Price DH, Werner J. P-TEFb kinase recruitment and function at heat shock loci. Genes Dev. 2000 Apr 1;14(7):792-803.

Saunders A, Werner J, Andrulis ED, Nakayama T, Hirose S, Reinberg D, Lis JT. Tracking FACT and the RNA polymerase II elongation complex through chromatin in vivo. Science. 2003 Aug 22;301(5636):1094-6.

Adelman K, Marr MT, Werner J, Saunders A, Ni Z, Andrulis ED, Lis JT. Efficient release from promoter-proximal stall sites requires transcript cleavage factor TFIIS. Mol Cell. 2005 Jan 7;17(1):103-12.

Saunders A, Core LJ, Lis JT. Breaking barriers to transcription elongation. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2006 Aug;7(8):557-67. Review. No abstract available.

Yao J, Munson KM, Webb WW, Lis JT. Dynamics of heat shock factor association with native gene loci in living cells. Nature. 2006 Aug 31;442(7106):1050-3. Epub 2006 Aug 23.

Shi H, Fan X, Sevilimedu A, Lis JT. RNA aptamers directed to discrete functional sites on a single protein structural domain. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Mar 6;104(10):3742-6. Epub 2007 Feb 28.

Yao J, Ardehali MB, Fecko CJ, Webb WW, Lis JT. Intranuclear distribution and local dynamics of RNA polymerase II during transcription activation. Mol Cell. 2007 Dec 28;28(6):978-90.

Ni Z, Saunders A, Fuda NJ, Yao J, Suarez JR, Webb WW, Lis JT. P-TEFb is critical for the maturation of RNA polymerase II into productive elongation in vivo. Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Feb;28(3):1161-70.

 Petesch SJ, Lis JT. Rapid, transcription-independent loss of nucleosomes over a large chromatin domain at Hsp70 loci. Cell. 2008 Jul 11;134(1):74-84.

Core LJ, Waterfall JJ, Lis JT. Nascent RNA sequencing reveals widespread pausing and divergent initiation at human promoters. Science. 2008 Dec 19;322(5909):1845-8.