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RNA polymerase I (Pol I) is the central, 14-subunit enzyme that synthesizes the ribosomal RNA (rRNA) precursor in eukaryotic cells. The recent crystal structure of Pol I at 2.8 Å resolution revealed two novel elements: the `expander' in the active-centre cleft and the `connector' that mediates Pol I dimerization [Engel et al. (2013), Nature (London), 502, 650–655]. Here, a Pol I structure in an alternative crystal form that was solved by molecular replacement using the original atomic Pol I structure is reported. The resulting alternative structure lacks the expander but still shows an expanded active-centre cleft. The neighbouring Pol I monomers form a homodimer with a relative orientation distinct from that observed previously, establishing the connector as a hinge between Pol I monomers.

Supporting information

PDB reference: RNA polymerase I, 4ym7


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