Functional Architecture of RNA Polymerase I
Synthesis of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) by RNA polymerase (Pol) I is the first step in ribosome biogenesis and a regulatory switch in eukaryotic cell growth. Here we report the 12 A° cryoelectron microscopic structure for the complete 14-subunit yeast Pol I, a homology model for the core enzyme, and the crystal structure of the subcomplex A14/43. In the resulting hybrid structure of Pol I, A14/43, the clamp, and the dock domain contribute to a unique surface interacting with promoter-specific initiation factors. The Pol I-specific subunits A49 and A34.5 form a heterodimer near the enzyme funnel that acts as a built-in elongation factor and is related to the Pol II-associated factor TFIIF. In contrast to Pol II, Pol I has a strong intrinsic 30-RNA cleavage activity, which requires the C-terminal domain of subunit A12.2 and, apparently, enables ribosomal RNA proofreading and 30-end trimming.