Early stages of transcription from eukaryotic promoters include two principal events: the capping of newly synthesized mRNA and the transition of RNA polymerase II from the preinitiation complex to the productive elongation state. The capping checkpoint model implies that these events are tightly coupled, which is necessary for ensuring the proper capping of newly synthesized mRNA. Recent findings also show that the capping machinery has a wider effect on transcription and the entire gene expression process. The molecular basis of these phenomena is discussed.

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