Mapping mutations in genes encoding the two large subunits of Drosophila RNA polymerase II defines domains essential for basic transcription functions and for proper expression of developmental genes.
We have mapped a number of mutations at the DNA sequence level in genes encoding the largest (RpII215) and second-largest (RpII140) subunits of Drosophila melanogaster RNA polymerase II. Using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification and single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis, we detected 12 mutations from 14 mutant alleles (86%) as mobility shifts in nondenaturing gel electrophoresis, thus localizing the mutations to the corresponding PCR fragments of about 350 bp. We then determined the mutations at the DNA sequence level by directly subcloning the PCR fragments and sequencing them. The five mapped RpII140 mutations clustered in a C-terminal portion of the second-largest subunit, indicating the functional importance of this region of the subunit. The RpII215 mutations were distributed more broadly, although six of eight clustered in a central region of the subunit. One notable mutation that we localized to this region was the alpha-amanitin-resistant mutation RpII215C4, which also affects RNA chain elongation in vitro. RpII215C4 mapped to a position near the sites of corresponding mutations in mouse and in Caenorhabditis elegans genes, reinforcing the idea that this region is involved in amatoxin binding and transcript elongation. We also mapped mutations in both RpII215 and RpII140 that cause a developmental defect known as the Ubx effect. The clustering of these mutations in each gene suggests that they define functional domains in each subunit whose alteration induces the mutant phenotype.
Chen, Y; Weeks, J; Mortin, MA; Greenleaf, AL
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