The thumb subdomain of yeast mitochondrial RNA polymerase is involved in processivity, transcript fidelity and mitochondrial transcription factor binding

Gilberto Velazquez, Rui J Sousa, Luis G. Brieba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Single subunit RNA polymerases have evolved 2 mechanisms to synthesize long transcripts without falling off a DNA template: binding of nascent RNA and interactions with an RNA:DNA hybrid. Mitochondrial RNA polymerases share a common ancestor with T-odd bacteriophage single subunit RNA polymerases. Herein we characterized the role of the thumb subdomain of the yeast mtRNA polymerase gene (RPO41) in complex stability, processivity, and fidelity. We found that deletion and point mutants of the thumb subdomain of yeast mtRNA polymerase increase the synthesis of abortive transcripts and the probability that the polymerase will disengage from the template during the formation of the late initial transcription and elongation complexes. Mutations in the thumb subdomain increase the amount of slippage products from a homopolymeric template and, unexpectedly, thumb subdomain deletions decrease the binding affinity for mitochondrial transcription factor (Mtf1). The latter suggests that the thumb subdomain is part of an extended binding surface area involved in binding Mtf1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)514-524
Number of pages11
JournalRNA Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2015



  • Fidelity
  • Mitochondrial RNA polymerase
  • Processivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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