Applied Surface Science, Vol.210, No.1-2, 105-111, 2003
Single molecule imaging of RNA polymerase II using atomic force microscopy
An atomic force microscopy (AFM) study of the shape, orientation and surface topology of RNA polymerase II supported on silanized freshly cleaved mica was made. The overall aim is to define the molecular topology of RNA polymerase II in appropriate fluids to help clarify the relationship of conformational features to biofunctionality. A Nanoscope III atomic force microscope was used in the tapping mode with oxide-sharpened (8-10 nm) Si3N4 probes in aqueous zinc chloride buffer. The main structural features observed by AFM were compared to those derived from electron-density plots based on X-ray crystallographic studies. The conformational features included a bilobal silhouette with an inverted umbrella-shaped crater connected to a reaction site. These studies provide a starting point for constructing a 3D-AFM profiling analysis of proteins such as RNA polymerase complexes. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.