Structural features of DNA that determine RNA polymerase II core promoter
The general structure and action of all eukaryotic and archaeal RNA polymerases machinery have an astonishing similarity despite the diversity of core promoter sequences in different species. The goal of our work is to find common characteristics of DNA region that define it as a promoter for the RNA polymerase II (Pol II).
The profiles of a large number of physical and structural characteristics, averaged over representative sets of the Pol II minimal core promoters of the evolutionary divergent species from animals, plants and unicellular fungi were analysed. In addition to the characteristics defined at the base-pair steps, we, for the first time, use profiles of the ultrasonic cleavage and DNase I cleavage indexes, informative for internal properties of each complementary strand.
DNA of the core promoters of metazoans and Schizosaccharomyces pombe has similar structural organization. Its mechanical and 3D structural characteristics have singular properties at the positions of TATA-box. The minor groove is broadened and conformational motion is decreased in that region. Special characteristics of conformational behavior are revealed in metazoans at the region, which connects the end of TATA-box and the transcription start site (TSS). The intensities of conformational motions in the complementary strands are periodically changed in opposite phases. They are noticeable, best of all, in mammals. Such conformational features are lacking in the core promoters of S. pombe. The profiles of Saccharomyces cerevisiae core promoters significantly differ: their singular region is shifted down thus pointing to the uniqueness of their structural organization. Obtained results may be useful in genetic engineering for artificial modulation of the promoter strength.