M. tuberculosis Transcription Machinery: A Review on the Mycobacterial RNA Polymerase and Drug Discovery Efforts

Filia Stephanie, Usman Sumo Friend Tambunan, Teruna J. Siahaan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) is the main source of tuberculosis (TB), one of the oldest known diseases in the human population. Despite the drug discovery efforts of past decades, TB is still one of the leading causes of mortality and claimed more than 1.5 million lives worldwide in 2020. Due to the emergence of drug-resistant strains and patient non-compliance during treatments, there is a pressing need to find alternative therapeutic agents for TB. One of the important areas for developing new treatments is in the inhibition of the transcription step of gene expression; it is the first step to synthesize a copy of the genetic material in the form of mRNA. This further translates to functional protein synthesis, which is crucial for the bacteria living processes. MTB contains a bacterial DNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RNAP), which is the key enzyme for the transcription process. MTB RNAP has been targeted for designing and developing antitubercular agents because gene transcription is essential for the mycobacteria survival. Initiation, elongation, and termination are the three important sequential steps in the transcription process. Each step is complex and highly regulated, involving multiple transcription factors. This review is focused on the MTB transcription machinery, especially in the nature of MTB RNAP as the main enzyme that is regulated by transcription factors. The mechanism and conformational dynamics that occur during transcription are discussed and summarized. Finally, the current progress on MTB transcription inhibition and possible drug target in mycobacterial RNAP are also described to provide insight for future antitubercular drug design and development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1774
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • DNA-dependent RNA polymerase
  • M. tuberculosis
  • transcription inhibition


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