Transcriptional proofreading in dense RNA polymerase traffic
Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Science Park Golm - 14424 Potsdam, Germany, EU
Accepted: 25 October 2011
The correction of errors during transcription involves the diffusive backward translocation (backtracking) of RNA polymerases (RNAPs) on the DNA. A trailing RNAP on the same template can interfere with backtracking as it progressively restricts the space that is available for backward translocation and thereby ratchets the backtracked RNAP forward. We analyze the resulting negative impact on proofreading theoretically using a driven lattice gas model of transcription under conditions of dense RNAP traffic. The fraction of errors that are corrected is calculated exactly for the case of a single RNAP; for multi-RNAP transcription, we use simulations and an analytical approximation and find a decrease with increasing traffic density. Moreover, we ask how the parameters of the system have to be set to keep down the impact of the interference of a trailing RNAP. Our analysis uncovers a surprisingly simple picture of the design of the error correction system: its efficiency is essentially determined by the rate for the initial backtracking step, while the value of the cleavage rate ensures that the correction mechanism remains efficient at high transcription rates. Finally, we argue that our analysis can also be applied to cases with transcription-translation coupling where the leading ribosome on the transcript assumes the role of the trailing RNAP.
PACS: 05.40.-a – Fluctuation phenomena, random processes, noise, and Brownian motion / 87.14.ej – Enzymes / 02.50.Ey – Stochastic processes
© EPLA, 2011