Molecular modeling of RNA polymerase II mutations onto DNA polymerase I.

Abstract:

Genetic and molecular analysis in Drosophila melanogaster identifies eight suppressor mutations in the second largest subunit of RNA polymerase II. The suppressor mutations fall into two classes: five are strong, result from the same serine to cysteine amino acid residue substitution and rescue one conditional lethal allele in the largest subunit of RNA polymerase II; three are mild, result from a change in the same methionine residue to either isoleucine or valine, are located seven amino acid residues away from the strong suppressors and rescue two conditional lethal alleles in the largest subunit. Sequence analysis of the three regions around these mutations demonstrates that they are located within highly conserved domains but fails to explain the observed genetic interactions. One of the conditional lethal alleles maps within a region previously reported to share sequence similarity to Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I. As the gross structure of RNA polymerase II and DNA polymerase I is similar, even though their primary sequence is not, we predict that more similarities exist but may be too highly divergent to be detected by normal homology searches. We identify the most similar regions between each of the three conserved domains of RNA polymerase II, identified as functionally important because of the mutations we isolated, and DNA polymerase I. Molecular modeling these regions of RNA polymerase II onto the tertiary structure of DNA polymerase I predicts that all lie adjacent to the DNA binding cleft in positions such that they could interact with the phosphate backbone of DNA. This juxtaposition of mutations in the two largest subunits of RNA polymerase II suggest a mechanism for their genetic interactions.

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