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RNA. 2010 Oct;16(10):1943-50. doi: 10.1261/rna.2130310. Epub 2010 Aug 12.

Ubiquitous presence of the hammerhead ribozyme motif along the tree of life.

Author information

  • 1Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas (UPV-CSIC), Valencia, Spain. rivero@ibmcp.upv.es

Abstract

Examples of small self-cleaving RNAs embedded in noncoding regions already have been found to be involved in the control of gene expression, although their origin remains uncertain. In this work, we show the widespread occurrence of the hammerhead ribozyme (HHR) motif among genomes from the Bacteria, Chromalveolata, Plantae, and Metazoa kingdoms. Intergenic HHRs were detected in three different bacterial genomes, whereas metagenomic data from Galapagos Islands showed the occurrence of similar ribozymes that could be regarded as direct relics from the RNA world. Among eukaryotes, HHRs were detected in the genomes of three water molds as well as 20 plant species, ranging from unicellular algae to vascular plants. These HHRs were very similar to those previously described in small RNA plant pathogens and, in some cases, appeared as close tandem repetitions. A parallel situation of tandemly repeated HHR motifs was also detected in the genomes of lower metazoans from cnidarians to invertebrates, with special emphasis among hematophagous and parasitic organisms. Altogether, these findings unveil the HHR as a widespread motif in DNA genomes, which would be involved in new forms of retrotransposable elements.

PMID:
20705646
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2941103
Free PMC Article

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