Dr. Weinzierl's research focuses on the structure and function of archaeal and eukaryotic RNA polymerases. Archaeal RNA polymerases are very similar to eukaryotic RNA polymerase II and provide one of the best model systems for discovering more about gene regulatory mechanisms operating in eukaryotic organisms.
In a technical tour de force the group has recently succeeded in assembling an active archaeal RNA polymerase from 12 different recombinant subunits. The synthetic enzyme is capable of carrying out all known functions, including promoter-specific transcription and responding to transcriptional activators. It is therefore possible to use this unique experimental system to study the effects of mutations on various aspects of RNA polymerase function. The laboratory currently focuses on the development of robotic high-throughput systems capable of producing and assaying recombinant RNA polymerases containing a variety of targeted mutations in key regions of the enzyme. Such approaches will provide new insights into a central process of gene regulation.
Werner F, Weinzierl ROJ, 2002, A recombinant RNA polymerase II-like enzyme capable of promoter-specific transcription, Molecular Cell, Vol:10, ISSN:1097-2765, Pages:635-646
et al., 2008, The RNA polymerase factory: a robotic in vitro assembly platform for high-throughput production of recombinant protein complexes, Nucleic Acids Research, Vol:36, ISSN:0305-1048, Pages:245-252
et al., 2008, Bridge helix and trigger loop perturbations generate superactive RNA polymerases., J Biol, Vol:7
Weinzierl ROJ, 1999, Mechanisms of Gene Expression, London, Imperial College Press, ISBN:9781860941269