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Nucleic Acids Research

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Transcription - Genetic, Archaeal proteins - Metabolism, Base sequence - DNA, Molecular Sequence Data


The lower jaws of archaeal RNA polymerase and eukaryotic RNA polymerase II include orthologous subunits H and Rpb5, respectively. The tertiary structure of H is very similar to the structure of the C-terminal domain of Rpb5, and both subunits are proximal to downstream DNA in pre-initiation complexes. Analyses of reconstituted euryarchaeal polymerase lacking subunit H revealed that H is important for open complex formation and initial transcription. Eukaryotic Rpb5 rescues activity of the ΔH enzyme indicating a strong conservation of function for this subunit from archaea to eukaryotes. Photochemical cross-linking in elongation complexes revealed a striking structural rearrangement of RNA polymerase, bringing subunit H near the transcribed DNA strand one helical turn downstream of the active center, in contrast to the positioning observed in preinitiation complexes. The rearrangement of subunits H and A'' suggest a major conformational change in the archaeal RNAP lower jaw upon formation of the elongation complex.


Copyright 2009 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press in Nucleic Acids Research, 2010, Vol. 38, No. 6, an Open Access Journal.

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