Comprehensive multiple sequence alignments of the multisubunit DNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RNAP) large subunits, including the bacterial beta and beta' subunits and their homologs from archaebacterial RNAPs, eukaryotic RNAPs I-III, nuclear-cytoplasmic large double-stranded DNA virus RNAPs, and plant plastid RNAPs, were created [Lane, W. J. and Darst, S. A. (2009). Molecular evolution of multisubunit RNA polymerases: sequence analysis. In press]. The alignments were used to delineate sequence regions shared among all classes of multisubunit RNAPs, defining common, fundamental RNAP features as well as identifying highly conserved positions. Here, we present a systematic, detailed structural analysis of these shared regions and highly conserved positions in terms of the RNAP structure, as well as the RNAP structure/function relationship, when known.