Transient-state kinetic analysis of multi-nucleotide addition catalyzed by RNA polymerase I

Academic Article


  • RNA polymerases execute the first step in gene expression: transcription of DNA into RNA. Eukaryotes, unlike prokaryotes, express at least three specialized nuclear multisubunit RNA polymerases (Pol I, Pol II, and Pol III). RNA polymerase I (Pol I) synthesizes the most abundant RNA, ribosomal RNA. Nearly 60% of total transcription is devoted to ribosomal RNA synthesis, making it one of the cell's most energy consuming tasks. While a kinetic mechanism for nucleotide addition catalyzed by Pol I has been reported, it remains unclear to what degree different nucleotide sequences impact the incorporation rate constants. Furthermore, it is currently unknown if the previous investigation of a single-nucleotide incorporation was sensitive to the translocation step. Here, we show that Pol I exhibits considerable variability in both kmax and K1/2values using an in vitro multi-NTP incorporation assay measuring AMP and GMP incorporations. We found the first two observed nucleotide incorporations exhibited faster kmax-values (∼200 s−1) compared with the remaining seven positions (∼60 s−1). Additionally, the average K1/2 for ATP incorporation was found to be approximately threefold higher compared with GTP, suggesting Pol I has a tighter affinity for GTP compared with ATP. Our results demonstrate that Pol I exhibits significant variability in the observed rate constant describing each nucleotide incorporation. Understanding of the differences between the Pol enzymes will provide insight on the evolutionary pressures that led to their specialized roles. Therefore, the findings resulting from this work are critically important for comparisons with other polymerases across all domains of life.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Ingram ZM; Schneider DA; Lucius AL
  • Start Page

  • 4378
  • End Page

  • 4390
  • Volume

  • 120
  • Issue

  • 20