T7 RNA Polymerase

Rui J Sousa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


The T7 bacteriophage encodes a single-subunit RNA polymerase of 99. kDa that transcribes the phage's genes during its lytic growth in Escherichia coli. The T7 RNA polymerase is structurally similar to DNA polymerases, reverse transcriptases, and RNA-directed RNA polymerases, and these structural similarities define a polymerase superfamily that includes the majority of nucleic acid-synthesizing enzymes. T7 RNA polymerase is structurally unrelated to the more complex, multi-subunit cellular RNA polymerases that have molecular weights of >500. kDa. Its relative structural simplicity has facilitated description of its structure and mechanism to reveal that progression through its transcription reaction is mediated by a concerted series of large conformational changes. The high activity and stringent promoter specificity of T7 RNA polymerase are exploited in technologies for expressing heterologous genes in vivo, and for synthesizing RNAs in vitro.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Biological Chemistry
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780123786319
ISBN (Print)9780123786302
StatePublished - Feb 15 2013


  • Allostery
  • Conformational change
  • DNA polymerase
  • Elongation
  • Gene overexpression
  • Pause site
  • Promoter
  • Reverse transcriptase
  • RNA polymerase
  • Synthetic RNA
  • Termination
  • Transcription
  • Transcriptional regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'T7 RNA Polymerase'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this