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Cell. 1999 Sep 17;98(6):799-810.

Yeast RNA polymerase II at 5 A resolution.

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Department of Structural Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Fairchild Science Center, California 94305, USA.


Appropriate treatment of X-ray diffraction from an unoriented 18-heavy atom cluster derivative of a yeast RNA polymerase II crystal gave significant phase information to 5 A resolution. The validity of the phases was shown by close similarity of a 6 A electron density map to a 16 A molecular envelope of the polymerase from electron crystallography. Comparison of the 6 A X-ray map with results of electron crystallography of a paused transcription elongation complex suggests functional roles for two mobile protein domains: the tip of a flexible arm forms a downstream DNA clamp; and a hinged domain may serve as an RNA clamp, enclosing the transcript from about 8-18 residues upstream of the 3'-end in a tunnel.

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