Site-directed mutagenesis, purification and assay of Saccharomyces cerevisiae RNA polymerase II

Protein Expr Purif. 2010 Jan;69(1):83-90. doi: 10.1016/j.pep.2009.06.016. Epub 2009 Jun 28.


In order to analyze the structure-function of multi-subunit RNA polymerases (RNAPs), it is necessary to make site-directed mutations in key residues. Because Saccharomyces cerevisiae RNAP II is isolated as a 12 subunit enzyme that has not been amenable to in vitro reconstitution, making site-directed mutations in a particular subunit presents technical issues. In this work, we demonstrate a method to generate and purify site-directed mutants in the second largest (Rpb2) RNAP II subunit from yeast, using a tandem affinity purification tag. Mutants are analyzed for growth defects in vivo and for defects in transcriptional elongation in vitro. We show that Rpb2 R512A/C located just C-terminal to fork loop 2 (Rpb2 500-511) has transcriptional defects that are distinct from surrounding fork loop 2 region mutants. Rpb2 E529A/D replacements are faster and E529Q is slower than wild type RNAP II in elongation. E529 appears to form an ion pair with K987, an essential active site residue. Mutations are also analyzed within the active site region indicating key residues for catalysis and the importance of a Rpb2 R983-E1028 ion pair. Rpb2 R983Q and E1028Q are defective in escape from a transcriptional stall.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Assay / methods*
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed / methods*
  • Mutant Proteins / isolation & purification
  • RNA Polymerase II / genetics
  • RNA Polymerase II / isolation & purification*
  • RNA Polymerase II / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / enzymology*


  • Mutant Proteins
  • RNA Polymerase II