, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 94-107
Date: 16 Jan 2008

Baculovirus RNA polymerase: Activities, composition, and evolution

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Abstract

Baculoviruses are the only nuclear replicating DNA-containing viruses that encode their own DNA-directed RNA polymerase (RNAP). The baculovirus RNAP is specific for the transcription of genes expressed after virus DNA replication. It is composed of four subunits, making it the simplest multisubunit RNAP known. Two subunits contain motifs found at the catalytic center of other RNAPs and a third has capping enzyme functions. The function of the fourth subunit is not known. Structural studies on this unique RNAP will provide new insights into the functions of this enzyme and the regulation of viral genes and may be instrumental to optimize the baculovirus gene expression system.