Yeast RNA Polymerase II at 5 A Resolution

Cell. 1999 Sep 17;98(6):799-810. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(00)81514-7.


Appropriate treatment of X-ray diffraction from an unoriented 18-heavy atom cluster derivative of a yeast RNA polymerase II crystal gave significant phase information to 5 A resolution. The validity of the phases was shown by close similarity of a 6 A electron density map to a 16 A molecular envelope of the polymerase from electron crystallography. Comparison of the 6 A X-ray map with results of electron crystallography of a paused transcription elongation complex suggests functional roles for two mobile protein domains: the tip of a flexible arm forms a downstream DNA clamp; and a hinged domain may serve as an RNA clamp, enclosing the transcript from about 8-18 residues upstream of the 3'-end in a tunnel.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Models, Molecular
  • Motion
  • Protein Conformation
  • RNA / metabolism
  • RNA Polymerase II / chemistry*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / enzymology*
  • Synchrotrons


  • RNA
  • DNA
  • RNA Polymerase II