Maintenance of RNA-DNA hybrid length in bacterial RNA polymerases

Tatyana Kent, Ekaterina Kashkina, Michael Anikin, Dmitry Temiakov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


During transcription elongation the nascent RNA remains base-paired to the template strand of the DNA before it is displaced and the two strands of the DNA reanneal, resulting in the formation of a transcription "bubble" of ∼10 bp. To examine how the length of the RNA-DNA hybrid is maintained, we assembled transcription elongation complexes on synthetic nucleic acid scaffolds that mimic the situation in which transcript displacement is compromised and the polymerase synthesizes an extended hybrid.Wefound that in such complexes bacterial RNA polymerase exhibit an intrinsic endonucleolytic cleavage activity that restores the hybrid to its normal length. Mutations in the region of the RNA polymerase near the site of RNA-DNA separation result in altered RNA displacement and translocation functions and as a consequence in different patterns of proofreading activities. Our data corroborate structural findings concerning the elements involved in the maintenance of the length of the RNA-DNA hybrid and suggest interplay between polymerase translocation, DNA strand separation, and intrinsic endonucleolytic activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13497-13504
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 15 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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