A Structural Model of Transcription Elongation

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Science  28 Jul 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5479, pp. 619-625
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5479.619

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The path of the nucleic acids through a transcription elongation complex was tracked by mapping cross-links between bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP) and transcript RNA or template DNA onto the x-ray crystal structure. In the resulting model, the downstream duplex DNA is nestled in a trough formed by the β′ subunit and enclosed on top by the β subunit. In the RNAP channel, the RNA/DNA hybrid extends from the enzyme active site, along a region of the β subunit harboring rifampicin resistance mutations, to the β′ subunit “rudder.” The single-stranded RNA is then extruded through another channel formed by the β-subunit flap domain. The model provides insight into the functional properties of the transcription complex.

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