A role for the catalytic ribonucleoprotein RNase P in RNA polymerase III transcription

Robert Reiner, Yitzhak Ben-Asouli, Ilana Krilovetzky, Nayef Jarrous*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


The physical and functional links between transcription and processing machines of tRNA in the cell remain essentially unknown. We show here that whole HeLa extracts depleted of ribonuclease P (RNase P), a tRNA-processing ribonucleoprotein, exhibit a severe deficiency in RNA polymerase (Pol) III transcription of tRNA and other small, noncoding RNA genes. However, transcription can be restored by the addition of a purified holoenzyme. Targeted cleavage of the H1 RNA moiety of RNase P alters enzyme specificity and diminishes Pol III transcription. Moreover, inactivation of RNase P by targeting its protein subunits for destruction using small interfering RNAs inhibits Pol III function and Pol III-directed promoter activity in the cell. RNase P exerts its role in transcription through association with Pol III and chromatin of active tRNA and 5S rRNA genes. The results demonstrate a role for RNase P in Pol III transcription and suggest that transcription and early processing of tRNA may be coordinated.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1621-1635
Number of pages15
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number12
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2006


  • Catalytic ribonucleoprotein
  • RNA polymerase III
  • RNase P
  • Small, noncoding RNA gene
  • tRNA processing


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