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Nat Struct Biol. 2000 Oct;7(10):850-4.

The question remains: is the spliceosome a ribozyme?

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  • 1Graduate Group in Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143-0448, USA.


The two phosphoryl transfer steps of pre-mRNA splicing are catalyzed within the large ribonuclear protein machine called the spliceosome. The highly dynamic nature of the spliceosome has presented many challenges to a structural and mechanistic understanding of its catalytic core. While much evidence supports the popular hypothesis that the catalytic steps of pre-mRNA splicing are mediated by spliceosomal RNA, a role for protein in catalysis cannot yet be ruled out. A highly conserved protein, Prp8, is a component of the catalytic core. We review data consistent with the hypothesis that Prp8 functions as a cofactor to an RNA enzyme.

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