The molecular structure of yeast RNA polymerase III. Demonstration of the tripartite transcriptive system in lower eukaryotes.
ABSTRACT: Homogeneous RNA polymerase III (RNA nucleotidyltransferase III) has been obtained from yeast. The subunit composition of the enzyme was examined by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis in the presence of sodium dodecyl sulfate. The enzyme is composed of 12 putative subunits with molecular weights 160,000, 128,000, 82,000, 41,000, 40,500, 37,000, 34,000, 28,000, 24,000, 20,000, 14,500, and 11,000. The high-molecular-weight subunits and several of the smaller subunits of yeast RNA polymerase III are clearly different from those of enzymes I and II, indicating a distinct molecular structure. However, the molecular weights of some of the small subunits (41,000, 28,000, 24,000, and 14,500) appear to be identical to those of polymerases I and II. Thus, it is possible that the three classes of enzymes in yeast have some common subunits. As in other eukaryotes, yeast polymerase II is inhibited by relatively low concentrations of alpha-amanitin; however, contrary to what has been found in higher eukaryotes, yeast polymerase III is resistant (up to 2 mg/ml) to alpha-amanitin, while yeast polymerase I is sensitive to high concentrations of the drug (50% inhibition at 0.3 mg/ml). These results establish the existence of RNA polymerase III in yeast and provide a structural basis for the discrimination of the three functional polymerases in eukaryotes.