DNA-directed RNA polymerase III, subunit Rpc31 (IPR024661)

Short name: RNA_pol_III_Rpc31

Family relationships



DNA-directed RNA polymerases EC: (also known as DNA-dependent RNA polymerases) are responsible for the polymerisation of ribonucleotides into a sequence complementary to the template DNA. In eukaryotes, there are three different forms of DNA-directed RNA polymerases transcribing different sets of genes. Most RNA polymerases are multimeric enzymes and are composed of a variable number of subunits. The core RNA polymerase complex consists of five subunits (two alpha, one beta, one beta-prime and one omega) and is sufficient for transcription elongation and termination but is unable to initiate transcription. Transcription initiation from promoter elements requires a sixth, dissociable subunit called a sigma factor, which reversibly associates with the core RNA polymerase complex to form a holoenzyme [PMID: 3052291]. The core RNA polymerase complex forms a "crab claw"-like structure with an internal channel running along the full length [PMID: 10499798]. The key functional sites of the enzyme, as defined by mutational and cross-linking analysis, are located on the inner wall of this channel.

RNA synthesis follows after the attachment of RNA polymerase to a specific site, the promoter, on the template DNA strand. The RNA synthesis process continues until a termination sequence is reached. The RNA product, which is synthesised in the 5' to 3'direction, is known as the primary transcript. Eukaryotic nuclei contain three distinct types of RNA polymerases that differ in the RNA they synthesise:

  • RNA polymerase I: located in the nucleoli, synthesises precursors of most ribosomal RNAs.
  • RNA polymerase II: occurs in the nucleoplasm, synthesises mRNA precursors.
  • RNA polymerase III: also occurs in the nucleoplasm, synthesises the precursors of 5S ribosomal RNA, the tRNAs, and a variety of other small nuclear and cytosolic RNAs.
Eukaryotic cells are also known to contain separate mitochondrial and chloroplast RNA polymerases. Eukaryotic RNA polymerases, whose molecular masses vary in size from 500 to 700 kDa, contain two non-identical large (>100 kDa) subunits and an array of up to 12 different small (less than 50 kDa) subunits.

RNA polymerase III contains seventeen subunits in yeasts and in human cells. Twelve of these are akin to RNA polymerase I or II and the other five are RNA polymerase III-specific, and form the functionally distinct groups: (i) Rpc31-Rpc34-Rpc82, and (ii) Rpc37-Rpc53. Rpc31, Rpc34 and Rpc82 form a cluster of enzyme-specific subunits that contribute to transcription initiation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Homo sapiens. There is evidence that these subunits are anchored at or near the N-terminal Zn-fold of Rpc1, itself prolonged by a highly conserved but RNA polymerase III-specific domain [PMID: 16877568].

This entry represents the Rpc31 subunit. It is also known as RPC7 or RPC32 [PMID: 18487626].

GO terms

Biological Process

GO:0006383 transcription from RNA polymerase III promoter

Molecular Function

GO:0003899 DNA-directed 5'-3' RNA polymerase activity

Cellular Component

No terms assigned in this category.

Contributing signatures

Signatures from InterPro member databases are used to construct an entry.