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The jaws of transcription

William Wells

Genome Biology 2000, 1:spotlight-20000803-02  doi:10.1186/gb-spotlight-20000803-02

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:3 August 2000

© 2000 BioMed Central Ltd

Research news

Active RNA polymerase (RNAP) somehow remains both stable and mobile. In the 28 July Science Korzheva et al. combine the X-ray crystal structure of Thermus aquaticus (Taq) core RNAP with their own crosslinking data to derive a model of a functioning bacterial core RNAP (Science 2000, 289:619-625). At the front, a 20° hinged movement closes the RNAP "jaws" around the downstream DNA. At the back of the RNAP, the rudder region is positioned to separate the exiting RNA from the DNA template strand. Termination probably comes when an RNA hairpin disrupts interactions with the rudder, triggering collapse of the transcription bubble.


  1. [] webcite

    Science magazine

  2. Crystal structure of Thermus aquaticus core RNA polymerase at 3.3 A resolution.

    PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL