INTAC endonuclease and phosphatase modules have distinct roles in transcription
Gene expression in metazoans is controlled by promoter-proximal pausing of RNA polymerase II, which can undergo productive elongation or early termination. Integrator-PP2A (INTAC) plays a crucial role in determining the fate of paused polymerases, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here we establish a rapid degradation system to dissect the direct functions of INTAC RNA endonuclease and phosphatase modules. We find that both catalytic modules function at most if not all active promoters and enhancers, yet differentially affect polymerase fate. The endonuclease module induces early termination, with its disruption leading to accumulation of non-competent polymerases and downregulation of highly expressed genes, while competent polymerases accumulate at lowly expressed genes and non-coding elements, leading to their upregulation. The phosphatase module primarily prevents the release of paused polymerases and limits transcriptional activation, especially for highly paused genes. Thus both INTAC’s catalytic modules have unexpectedly general yet distinct roles in dynamic transcriptional control.