We have now completed an atomic crystallographic model of the 12-subunit yeast RNA polymerase II in elongation mode, with DNA and RNA in the active-centre cleft, and the NTP substrate at the growing end of the RNA. From these studies has emerged a detailed three-dimensional view of mRNA elongation. We have extended this structural analysis to a polymerase elongation complex bound by the transcript cleavage factor TFIIS (transcription factor IIS), which is required for polymerase escape from DNA arrest sites. A detailed model of this complex reveals a single tuneable active site for RNA polymerization and cleavage, and changes in the position of the RNA and polymerase domains, reflecting the dynamic nature of the elongation complex. An additional structure of a polymerase CTD (C-terminal domain) phosphopeptide bound by the 3′-RNA processing factor Pcf11 provides insights into the coupling of transcription elongation to mRNA processing. The structure of the CTD phosphatase Scp1 trapped in an intermediary enzymatic state explains CTD dephosphorylation during recycling of the polymerase. We also recently reported the first crystal structure of a Mediator subcomplex, which reveals an extended helical fold with a conserved hinge.
- © 2006 Biochemical Society