Structure of an Archaeal RNA Polymerase

Journal of Molecular Biology, 2008, doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2007.08.066, Volume 376, Issue 2, Pages 303-307 published on 15.02.2008

Journal of Molecular Biology, online article 

Related multisubunit RNA polymerases (RNAPs) carry out gene transcription in all kingdoms of life. Since structural information is limited to bacterial and eukaryotic RNAPs, we determined the cryo-electron microscopic structure of the RNAP from the thermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus at 13 Å resolution. Comparison with eukaryotic RNAP II reveals a conserved architecture, no homologues for subunits Rpb8 and Rpb9, and significant deviation in the polymerase foot, jaws, pore, and protrusion. The structural organization of the archaeal RNA polymerase serves as a reference for future structure–function analysis of the transcription mechanism and allows for evolutionary comparisons.

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