The eukaryotic exosome is a key nuclease for the degradation, processing and quality control of a wide variety of RNAs. Here, we report electron microscopic reconstructions and pseudo‐atomic models of the ten‐subunit Saccharomyces cerevisiae exosome in the unbound and RNA‐bound states. In the RNA‐bound structures, extra density that is visible at the entry and exit sites of the exosome channel indicates that a substrate‐threading mechanism is used by the eukaryotic exosome. This channelling mechanism seems to be conserved in exosome‐like complexes from all domains of life, and might have been present in the most recent common ancestor.
- Received July 14, 2010.
- Revision received September 13, 2010.
- Accepted September 16, 2010.
- Copyright © 2010 European Molecular Biology Organization