Escherichia coli RNA polymerase (RNAP) is the most studied bacterial RNAP and has been used as the model RNAP for screening and evaluating potential RNAP-targeting antibiotics. However, the x-ray crystal structure of E. coli RNAP has been limited to individual domains. Here, I report the x-ray structure of the E. coli RNAP σ70 holoenzyme, which shows σ region 1.1 (σ1.1) and the α subunit C-terminal domain for the first time in the context of an intact RNAP. σ1.1 is positioned at the RNAP DNA-binding channel and completely blocks DNA entry to the RNAP active site. The structure reveals that σ1.1 contains a basic patch on its surface, which may play an important role in DNA interaction to facilitate open promoter complex formation. The α subunit C-terminal domain is positioned next to σ domain 4 with a fully stretched linker between the N- and C-terminal domains. E. coli RNAP crystals can be prepared from a convenient overexpression system, allowing further structural studies of bacterial RNAP mutants, including functionally deficient and antibiotic-resistant RNAPs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology