RNA template-directed RNA synthesis by T7 RNA polymerase

Christian Cazenave*, Olke C. Uhlenbeck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


In an attempt to synthesize an oligoribonucleotide by run-off transcription by bacteriophage T7 RNA polymerase, a major transcript was produced that was much longer than expected. Analysis of the reaction indicated that the product resulted from initial DNA-directed run-off transcription followed by RNA template-directed RNA synthesis. This reaction occurred because the RNA made from the DNA template displayed self- complementarity at its 3' end and therefore could form an intra- or intermolecular primed template. In reactions containing only an RNA template, the rate of incorporation of NTPs was quite comparable to DNA-dependent transcription. RNA template-directed RNA synthesis has been found to occur with a great number of oligoribonucleotides, even with primed templates that are only marginally stable. In one instance, we observed a multistep extension reaction converting the oligonucleotide into a final product longer than twice its original length. Presumably, such a process could have generated some of the RNAs found to be efficiently replicated by T7 RNA polymerase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6972-6976
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number15
StatePublished - Jul 19 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'RNA template-directed RNA synthesis by T7 RNA polymerase'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this