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The two eukaryotic subunits Rpb3 and Rpb11 dimerise to from a platform onto which the other subunits of the RNA polymerase assemble (D/L in archaea). The prokaryotic equivalent of the Rpb3/Rpb11 platform is the alpha-alpha dimer. The dimerisation domain of the alpha subunit/Rpb3 is interrupted by an insert domain (PF01000). Some of the alpha subunits also contain iron-sulphur binding domains (PF00037). Rpb11 is found as a continuous domain. Members of this family include: alpha subunit from eubacteria, alpha subunits from chloroplasts, Rpb3 subunits from eukaryotes, Rpb11 subunits from eukaryotes, RpoD subunits from archaeal spp, and RpoL subunits from archaeal spp. Many of the members of this family carry only the N-terminal region of Rpb11.
RNA polymerase (RNAP) II, which is responsible for all mRNA synthesis in eukaryotes, consists of 12 subunits. Subunits Rpb3 and Rpb11 form a heterodimer that is functionally analogous to the archaeal RNAP D/L heterodimer, and the prokaryotic RNAP alpha subunit homodimer. In each case, they play a key role in RNAP assembly by forming a platform on which the catalytic subunits (eukaryotic Rpb1/Rpb2, and prokaryotic beta/beta') can interact [PUBMED:11453250]. These different subunits share regions of homology. Rpb11 contains a domain (Rpb11-like domain) that is required for dimerisation, and binds to a homologous region on Rpb3. The Rpb11-like domain in Rpb11 and archaeal L subunits is contiguous, whereas in Rpb3, archaeal D, and prokaryotic alpha subunits (INTERPRO), the Rpb11-like domain is interrupted by an insert domain (INTERPRO). In the prokaryotic RNAP alpha subunit, the Rpb11-like domain and the insert domain form two subregions of the N-terminal domain.
Zhang G, Darst SA; , Science 1998;281:262-266.: Structure of the Escherichia coli RNA polymerase alpha subunit amino-terminal domain. PUBMED:9657722 EPMC:9657722.