Transcription of the yeast mitochondrial genome is carried out by an RNA polymerase (Rpo41p) that is related to single subunit bacteriophage RNA polymerases but requires an additional factor (Mtf1p) for initiation. In this work we show that Mtf1p is involved in multiple roles during initiation including discrimination of upstream base pairs in the promoter, initial melting of three to four base pairs around the site of transcript initiation, and suppression of nonspecific initiation. It, thus, appears that Mtf1p is functionally analogous to initiation factors of multisubunit RNA polymerases, such as σ. Photocross-linking experiments reveal close proximity between Mtf1p and the promoter DNA and show that the C-terminal domain makes contacts with the template strand in the vicinity of the start site. Interestingly, Mtf1p is related to a class of RNA methyltransferases, suggesting an early evolutionary link between RNA synthesis and processing.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology