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Soaking of DNA into crystals of archaeal RNA polymerase achieved by desalting in droplets

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Transcription is a fundamental process across the three domains of life and is carried out by multi‐subunit enzymatic DNA‐directed RNA polymerases (RNAPs). The interaction of RNAP with nucleic acids is tightly controlled for precise and processive RNA synthesis. Whilst a wealth of structural information has been gathered on the eukaryotic Pol II in complex with DNA/RNA, no information exists on its ancestral counterpart archaeal RNAP. Thus, in order to extend knowledge of the archaeal transcriptional apparatus, crystallization of Sulfolobus shibatae RNAP (molecular mass of ∼400 kDa) with DNA fragments was pursued. To achieve this goal, crystal growth was first optimized using a nanoseeding technique. An ad hoc soaking protocol was then put into place, which consisted of gently exchanging the high‐salt buffer used for apo‐RNAP crystal growth into a low‐salt buffer necessary for DNA binding to RNAP. Of the various crystals screened, one diffracted to 4.3 Å resolution and structural analysis showed the presence of bound DNA [Wojtas et al. (2012). Nucleic Acids Res. 40, doi:10.1093/nar/gks692].
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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