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Received April 13, 2015; Revision received May 15, 2015
The radioresistant bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans is one of the most interesting models for studies of cell stress resistance. Analysis of the mechanisms of gene expression in D. radiodurans revealed some specific features of the transcription apparatus that might play a role in cell resistance to DNA-damaging conditions. In particular, RNA polymerase from D. radiodurans forms unstable promoter complexes and during transcription elongation has a much higher rate of RNA cleavage than RNA polymerase from Escherichia coli. Analysis of the structure and functions of D. radiodurans RNA polymerase is complicated due to the absence of convenient genetic systems for making mutations in the RNA polymerase genes and difficulties with enzyme purification. In this work, we developed a system for expression of D. radiodurans RNA polymerase in E. coli cells. We obtained an expression vector encoding all core RNA polymerase subunits and defined optimal conditions for the expression and purification of the RNA polymerase. It was found that D. radiodurans RNA polymerase has much higher rates of RNA cleavage than E. coli RNA polymerase under a wide range of conditions, including variations in the concentration of catalytic magnesium ions and pH values of the reaction buffer. The expression system can be used for further studies of the RNA cleavage reaction and the mechanisms of transcription regulation in D. radiodurans, including analysis of mutant RNA polymerase variants.
KEY WORDS: Deinococcus radiodurans, protein expression, RNA polymerase, RNA cleavage