All cellular life depends on multisubunit RNAPs (RNA polymerases) that are evolutionarily related through the three domains of life. Archaeal RNAPs encompass 12 subunits that contribute in different ways to the assembly and stability of the enzyme, nucleic acid binding, catalysis and specific regulatory interactions with transcription factors. The recent development of methods to reconstitute archaeal RNAP from recombinant materials in conjunction with structural information of multisubunit RNAPs present a potent opportunity to investigate the molecular mechanisms of transcription.

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