Keeping up to speed with the transcription termination factor Rho motor

Transcription. 2010 Sep-Oct;1(2):70-5. doi: 10.4161/trns.1.2.12232.


In bacteria, a subset of transcription termination events requires the participation of the transcription termination factor Rho. Rho is a homo-hexameric, ring-shaped, motor protein that uses the energy derived from its RNA-dependent ATPase activity to directionally unwind RNA and RNA-DNA helices and to dissociate transcription elongation complexes. Despite a wealth of structural, biochemical and genetic data, the molecular mechanisms used by Rho to carry out its biological functions remain poorly understood. Here, we briefly discuss the most recent findings on Rho mechanisms and function and highlight important questions that remain to be addressed.

Keywords: RNA; helicase; hexamer; molecular motor; transcription termination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • DNA, Bacterial / chemistry
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / metabolism
  • Models, Genetic
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA, Bacterial / chemistry
  • RNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • RNA, Bacterial / metabolism
  • Rho Factor / chemistry
  • Rho Factor / metabolism*
  • Terminator Regions, Genetic*
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Bacterial
  • Rho Factor
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • RNA-dependent ATPase