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J Biol Chem. 1997 Oct 31;272(44):27980-6.

Selective targeting and inhibition of yeast RNA polymerase II by RNA aptamers.

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Service de Biochimie et de Génétique Moléculaire, CEA/Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France.


To probe the complex nucleic acid binding domains of yeast RNA polymerase II (Pol II), we have isolated in the presence of heparin RNA molecules that selectively bind to yeast Pol II. A class of RNA molecules was found to bind and strongly interfere with enzyme-DNA interaction but not with RNA chain elongation. Remarkably, one selected RNA ligand was a specific inhibitor of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Pol II. S. cerevisiae Pol I and Pol III and Pol II from Schizosaccharomyces pombe or wheat germ cells were not affected. Photocross-linking experiments showed that the RNA ligand preferentially interacted with B220, the largest subunit of Pol II and, to a lesser extent, with B150, the second largest subunit. The selected RNA was expressed in yeast cells under the control of a Pol III promoter. Yeast cells that expressed the anti-Pol II aptamer grew normally. However, a cell growth defect was observed when expressing the RNA aptamer in cells having an artificially reduced level of Pol II.

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