A structural perspective on RNA polymerase I and RNA polymerase III transcription machineries
RNA polymerase I and III are responsible for the bulk of nuclear transcription in actively growing cells and their activity impacts the cellular biosynthetic capacity. As a consequence, RNA polymerase I and III deregulation has been directly linked to cancer development. The complexity of RNA polymerase I and III transcription apparatuses has hampered their structural characterization. However, in the last decade tremendous progresses have been made, providing insights into the molecular and functional architecture of these multi-subunit transcriptional machineries. Here we summarize the available structural data on RNA polymerase I and III, including specific transcription factors and global regulators. Despite the overall scarcity of detailed structural data, the recent advances in the structural biology of RNA polymerase I and III represent the first step towards a comprehensive understanding of the molecular mechanism underlying RNA polymerase I and III transcription. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Transcription by Odd Pols.