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Genetics. 1995 Jun;140(2):599-613.

Functional studies of the carboxy-terminal repeat domain of Drosophila RNA polymerase II in vivo.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


To understand the in vivo function of the unique and conserved carboxy-terminal repeat domain (CTD) of RNA polymerase II largest subunit (RpII215), we have studied RNA polymerase II biosynthesis, activity and genetic function in Drosophila RpII215 mutants that possessed all (C4), half (W81) or none (IIt) of the CTD repeats. We have discovered that steady-state mRNA levels from transgenes encoding a fully truncated, CTD-less subunit (IIt) are essentially equal to wild-type levels, whereas the levels of the CTD-less subunit itself and the amount of polymerase harboring it (Pol IIT) are significantly lower than wild type. In contrast, for the half-CTD mutant (W81), steady-state mRNA levels are somewhat lower than for wild type or IIt, while W81 subunit and polymerase amounts are much less than wild type. Finally, we have tested genetically the ability of CTD mutants to complement (rescue) partially functional RpII215 alleles and have found that IIt fails to complement whereas W81 complements partially to completely. These results suggest that removal of the entire CTD renders polymerase completely defective in vivo, whereas eliminating half of the CTD results in a polymerase with significant in vivo activity.

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