The second-largest subunit of the poxvirus RNA polymerase is similar to the corresponding subunits of procaryotic and eucaryotic RNA polymerases.
We have characterized the poxvirus gene encoding the second-largest subunit of the viral DNA-dependent RNA polymerase. This gene, designated rpo132, is located in the HindIII A fragment of the DNA of the Brighton Red strain of cowpox virus. A similar gene is located in the corresponding position in the HindIII A fragment of the DNA of the Western Reserve strain of vaccinia virus. The rpo132 gene is transcribed throughout the viral multiplication cycle. It has two transcriptional start sites; one is operative at late times only, and the other (80 base pairs downstream) is operative both at early times and at late times. Neither early nor late transcripts originating from the latter RNA start site contain long 5'-terminal poly(A) sequences. The rpo132 gene has the capacity to encode primary gene products of two types. The RNA transcripts whose 5' ends correspond to the early RNA start site can encode a 133-kilodalton (kDa) protein. The RNA transcripts whose 5' ends correspond to the early RNA start site can encode a 132-kDa protein. Transcripts of the latter type are more abundant, suggesting that the 132-kDa protein is the major primary product of this gene. The predicted amino acid sequences of both gene products share extensive similarities with the amino acid sequences of the second-largest subunits of the following enzymes: the RNA polymerase of Escherichia coli, the RNA polymerase II of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and the RNA polymerase II of Drosophila melanogaster. This result provides further evidence of relatedness between multisubunit DNA-dependent RNA polymerases.
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