What is it about?

Kinetic modelling of the reaction catalyzed by RNA polymerase provides new insight into the mechanism of action of this key enzyme in the process of gene expression. Stopped flow and quench flow kinetics were used in this study.

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Why is it important?

This study provides evidence for an alternative model for the mechanism of action of RNA polymerase based on a power stroke mechanism rather than the currently accepted one based on a Brownian ratchet mechanism. Power stroke and Brownian ratchet mechanisms are not mutually exclusive. They have been demonstrated to be used by the same protein to varying degrees to perform biological functions. An interplay between power stroke and Brownian ratchet mechanisms may be required for RNA polymerase to carry out all its tasks during transcription. However, power stroke mechanisms generally “outperform” Brownian ratchet mechanisms in terms of speed, power and efficiency.


I hope that this study opens up the field to alternative mechanisms for the nucleotide addition cycle than just the Brownian ratchet one. Only through the rigorous investigation of other mechanisms can the field truly advance.

Dr. Ronald Johnson
East Carolina University

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This page is a summary of: An NTP-driven mechanism for the nucleotide addition cycle of Escherichia coli RNA polymerase during transcription, PLoS ONE, October 2022, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0273746.
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