Architecture of initiation-competent 12-subunit RNA polymerase II.

Institute of Biochemistry and Gene Center, University of Munich, Feodor-Lynen-Strasse 25, 81377 Munich, Germany.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 07/2003; 100(12):6964-8. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1030608100
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT RNA polymerase (Pol) II consists of a 10-polypeptide catalytic core and the two-subunit Rpb4/7 complex that is required for transcription initiation. Previous structures of the Pol II core revealed a "clamp," which binds the DNA template strand via three "switch regions," and a flexible "linker" to the C-terminal repeat domain (CTD). Here we derived a model of the complete Pol II by fitting structures of the core and Rpb4/7 to a 4.2-A crystallographic electron density map. Rpb4/7 protrudes from the polymerase "upstream face," on which initiation factors assemble for promoter DNA loading. Rpb7 forms a wedge between the clamp and the linker, restricting the clamp to a closed position. The wedge allosterically prevents entry of the promoter DNA duplex into the active center cleft and induces in two switch regions a conformation poised for template-strand binding. Interaction of Rpb4/7 with the linker explains Rpb4-mediated recruitment of the CTD phosphatase to the CTD during Pol II recycling. The core-Rpb7 interaction and some functions of Rpb4/7 are apparently conserved in all eukaryotic and archaeal RNA polymerases but not in the bacterial enzyme.

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