Genes are the carriers of our genetic information. They are read in our cells and used to produce ribonucleic acids (RNAs). During this process, termed transcription, the enzyme RNA polymerase II has a decisive influence on the exact time at which genes are read and on the intensity with which this happens. In their recent article, researchers have shown exactly how RNA polymerase II is activated in nerve cells, and how this stimulates gene expression, the targeted use of genetic information. Their discoveries contain valuable starting points for further biomedical research.