Single molecule analysis of rna polymerase elongation reveals uniform kinetic behavior Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases


  • By using single-molecule measurements, we demonstrate that the elongation kinetics of individual Escherichia coli RNA polymerase molecules are remarkably homogeneous. We find no evidence of distinct elongation states among RNA polymerases. Instead, the observed heterogeneity in transcription rates results from statistical variation in the frequency and duration of pausing. When transcribing a gene without strong pause sites, RNA polymerase molecules display transient pauses that are distributed randomly in both time and distance. Transitions between the active elongation mode and the paused state are instantaneous within the resolution of our measurements (<1 s). This elongation behavior is compared with that of a mutant RNA polymerase that pauses more frequently and elongates more slowly than wild type.

publication date

  • October 15, 2002



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC129709

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1073/pnas.212358999

PubMed ID

  • 12370445

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 13538

end page

  • 43


  • 99


  • 21