Reticulocyte RNA dependent RNA polymerase

K. M. Downey, J. J. Byrnes, B. S. Jurmark, A. G. So

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


A cytoplasmic, microsomal bound RNA dependent RNA polymerase has been purified 2500 fold from rabbit reticulocyte lysates. The synthesis of RNA with the purified enzyme is absolutely dependent on the addition of an RNA template. The best template is hemoglobin messenger RNA, while bacteriophage RNA and poly(A,G) are less active, and DNA is completely inactive as a template. With poly(A,G) as a template, only UTP and CTP are incorporated into polynucleotide chains, indicating that the RNA polymerase is an RNA replicase and not a terminal transferase. With messenger RNA as a template, all four ribonucleoside triphosphates are required for maximal activity. The RNA dependent RNA polymerase reaction is extremely sensitive to low concentrations of heme, rifamycin AF/013, and ribonuclease and resistant to actinomycin D and DNase. The discovery of RNA directed RNA synthesis in reticulocytes offers an additional site for control of gene expression in mammalian cells and provides a possible mechanism for amplification of the expression of specific genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3400-3404
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number12 (I)
StatePublished - 1973

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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