RNA polymerase pushing

Eric A. Galburt, Juan M.R. Parrondo, Stephan W. Grill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Molecular motors can exhibit Brownian ratchet or power stroke mechanisms. These mechanistic categories are related to transition state position: An early transition state suggests that chemical energy is stored and then released during the step (stroke) while a late transition state suggests that the release of chemical energy rectifies thermally activated motion that has already occurred (ratchet). Cellular RNA polymerases are thought to be ratchets that can push each other forward to reduce pausing during elongation. Here, by constructing a two-dimensional energy landscape from the individual landscapes of active and backtracked enzymes, we identify a new pushing mechanism which is the result of a saddle trajectory that arises in the two-dimensional energy landscape of interacting enzymes. We show that this mechanism is more effective with an early transition state suggesting that interacting RNAPs might translocate via a power stroke.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-47
Number of pages5
JournalBiophysical Chemistry
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Brownian ratchet
  • Energy landscape
  • Modeling
  • Power stroke
  • RNA polymerase
  • Transcriptional pausing


Dive into the research topics of 'RNA polymerase pushing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this