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Nucleic Acids Res. 1990 May 25;18(10):2953-60.

A conjugation-specific gene (cnjC) from Tetrahymena encodes a protein homologous to yeast RNA polymerase subunits (RPB3, RPC40) and similar to a portion of the prokaryotic RNA polymerase alpha subunit (rpoA).

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Macdonald College of McGill University, Ste Anne de Bellevue, PQ, Canada.


The cnjC gene from the protozoan Tetrahymena thermophila was completely sequenced. The deduced gene product was found to have significant sequence similarity to the yeast and prokaryotic RNA polymerase subunits involved with subunit assembly. Since cnjC is active only during the sexual stage (conjugation) of Tetrahymena's life cycle, these results indicate it may be part of a novel type of transcriptional control. The yeast proteins to which the Tetrahymena cnjC is homologous are the 40 kd protein of RNA polymerases I and III (coded for by gene RPC40) and the third-largest subunit of RNA polymerase II (coded for by gene RPB3). The degree of similarity of the cnjC protein to the two yeast subunits was found to be greater than the similarity of the two yeast subunits to each other. The alpha subunit of the core RNA polymerase from prokaryotes (coded for by gene rpoA) was found to have regions of similarity to the cnjC protein as well as to the subunits encoded by RPC40 and RPB3. Regions of high conservation among the four proteins are noted. The significance of these results is discussed.

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