RNA Polymerase Holoenzyme: Structure, Function and Biological Implications

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2003 Apr;6(2):93-100. doi: 10.1016/s1369-5274(03)00036-5.


The past three years have marked the breakthrough in our understanding of the structural and functional organization of RNA polymerase. The latest major advance was the high-resolution structures of bacterial RNA polymerase holoenzyme and the holoenzyme in complex with promoter DNA. Together with an array of genetic, biochemical and biophysical data accumulated to date, the structures provide a comprehensive view of dynamic interactions between the major components of transcription machinery during the early stages of the transcription cycle. They include the binding of sigma factor to the core enzyme, and the recognition of promoter sequences and DNA melting by holoenzyme, transcription initiation and promoter clearance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / enzymology*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / genetics
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / chemistry*
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / genetics
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / physiology*
  • Holoenzymes / chemistry
  • Holoenzymes / genetics
  • Holoenzymes / physiology
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Structure
  • Sigma Factor / genetics
  • Sigma Factor / metabolism
  • Taq Polymerase / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Holoenzymes
  • Sigma Factor
  • Taq Polymerase
  • Tth polymerase
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase