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Nat Chem Biol. 2009 Feb;5(2):97-9. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.136. Epub 2009 Jan 4.

A natural ribozyme with 3',5' RNA ligase activity.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado, UCB 215, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0215, USA.


Using electrophoresis, sequencing and enzymatic digestion, we show that the group I intron from the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 catalyzes phosphodiester bond formation using a triphosphate on the 5'-terminal nucleotide, much like protein polymerases and engineered ribozymes. In the process, this ribozyme forms a unique circular RNA that incorporates the exogenous guanosine cofactor added during self-splicing. This finding may have relevance to a prebiotic RNA world and to modern biology.

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