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Strukturelle Biochemie

Institute of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
Structural Biochemistry
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Research Topic

Assembly of eukaryotic ribosomes requires four ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs). The nascent ribosomal RNA precursor contains three of these rRNAs and is transcribed by the RNA polymerase (Pol) I machinery.

Using a structural biology hybrid approach and in vitro biochemistry structure-function analyses we study the molecular basis of Pol I transcription and its regulation. In combination with ex vivo and in-cell techniques, we correlate our findings with the in vivo situation.

The RNA polymerase I transcription cycle

In order to transcribe their target genes, DNA-dependent polymerases undertake three defined steps: Firstly, they engage their template DNA promoter sequence, melt the DNA double strand and start transcription into RNA (initiation). Second, continuous production of the full-length RNA takes place (elongation). Finally, the transcription is stopped, leading to dissociation of template, product RNA and polymerase (termination). Our review describes the Pol I transcription cycle from a structural biology perspective and outlines the specific factors we study (Engel et al., Annual Reviews Biophysics 2018).