* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received February 14, 2008
RNA polymerase can both synthesize and cleave RNA. Both reactions occur at the same catalytic center containing two magnesium ions bound to three aspartic acid residues of the absolutely conserved NADFDGD motif of the RNA polymerase beta´ subunit. We have demonstrated that RNA polymerase from Deinococcus radiodurans possesses much higher rate of intrinsic RNA cleavage than RNA polymerase from Escherichia coli (the difference in the rates is about 15-fold at 20°C). However, these RNA polymerases do not differ in the rates of RNA synthesis. Comparison of the RNA polymerase sequences adjacent to the NADFDGD motif reveals the only amino acid substitution in this region (Glu751 in D. radiodurans vs. Ala455 in E. coli), which is localized in the secondary enzyme channel and can potentially affect the rate of RNA cleavage. Introduction of the corresponding substitution in the E. coli RNA polymerase leads to a slight (about 2-3-fold) increase in the cleavage rate, but does not affect RNA synthesis. Thus, the difference in the RNA cleavage rates between E. coli and D. radiodurans RNA polymerases is likely determined by multiple amino acid substitutions, which do not affect the rate of RNA synthesis and are localized in several regions of the active center.
KEY WORDS: RNA polymerase, RNA cleavage, catalysis rate