This application describes a means to clone a functional gene for bacteriophage T7 RNA polymerase. Active T7 RNA polymerase is produced from the cloned gene, and a plasmid has been constructed that can produce the active enzyme in large amounts. T7 RNA polymerase transcribes DNA very efficiently and is highly selective for a relatively long promoter sequence. This enzyme is useful for synthesizing large amounts of RNA in vivo or in vitro, and is capable of producing a single RNA selectively from a complex mixture of DNAs. The procedure used to obtain a clone of the R7 RNA polymerase gene can be applied to other T7-like phages to obtain clones that produce RNA polymerases having different promoter specificities, different bacterial hosts, or other desirable properties. T7 RNA polymerase is also used in a system for selective, high-level synthesis of RNAs and proteins in suitable host cells.
This invention was made with Government support under contract number DE-AC02-76CH00016, between the U.S. Department of Energy and Associated Universities, Inc. The Government has certain rights in the invention.