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Single-peptide DNA-dependent RNA polymerase homologous to multi-subunit RNA polymerase

Lookup NU author(s): Dr David Forrest, Dr Katherine JamesORCiD, Dr Yulia Yuzenkova, Professor Nikolay ZenkinORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2017 The Author(s). Transcription in all living organisms is accomplished by multi-subunit RNA polymerases (msRNAPs). msRNAPs are highly conserved in evolution and invariably share a ∼400 kDa five-subunit catalytic core. Here we characterize a hypothetical ∼100 kDa single-chain protein, YonO, encoded by the SPβ prophage of Bacillus subtilis. YonO shares very distant homology with msRNAPs, but no homology with single-subunit polymerases. We show that despite homology to only a few amino acids of msRNAP, and the absence of most of the conserved domains, YonO is a highly processive DNA-dependent RNA polymerase. We demonstrate that YonO is a bona fide RNAP of the SPβ bacteriophage that specifically transcribes its late genes, and thus represents a novel type of bacteriophage RNAPs. YonO and related proteins present in various bacteria and bacteriophages have diverged from msRNAPs before the Last Universal Common Ancestor, and, thus, may resemble the single-subunit ancestor of all msRNAPs.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Forrest D, James K, Yuzenkova Y, Zenkin N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nature Communications

Year: 2017

Volume: 8

Online publication date: 06/06/2017

Acceptance date: 27/04/2017

Date deposited: 30/06/2017

ISSN (print): 2041-1723

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15774


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