Updated: 5/28/2019

RNA Polymerases

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Prokaryotic Overview
  • 1 type of RNA polymerase (RNAp) 
  • Structure
    • α2ββ' core subunits
  • Initiation
    • σ (sigma) = initiation factor
    • binds RNAp to DNA
  • Termination
    • ρ (rho) = termination factor
  • Clinical importance
    • inhibited by
      • rifampin
        • antibiotic
      • actinomycin D
        • antibiotic
Eukaryotic Overview
  • 3 types of RNA polymerase
    • RNAp 1
      • synthesizes rRNA in nucleolus
      • remember: rRNA is most abundant RNA; so it is #1
    • RNAp 2
      • synthesizes mRNA, snRNA in nucleus 
    • RNAp 3
      • synthesizes tRNA in nucleus
      • remember: tee = three
      • makes eukaryotic 5s rRNA
  • Structure
    • similar in structure to prokaryotes
  • Initiation
    • TFIID = initiation factor
    • binds RNAp to DNA
  • Termination
    • translation continues far past gene and RNAp eventually falls off
  • Clinical importance
    • inhibited by
      • α-amanitin 
        • poison in death cap mushrooms
        • inhibits RNA polymerase 2 from synthesizing small nucleolar RNA and messenger RNA
        • leads to acute liver and kidney failure
      • actinomycin D
        • chemotherapeutic
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