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Mol Microbiol. 2000 Dec;38(5):917-26.

Group II introns in the bacterial world.

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Grupo de Ecología Genética, Estación Experimental del Zaidín, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Profesor Albareda 1, 18008 Granada, Spain.


Group II introns are large catalytic RNA molecules that act as mobile genetic elements. They were initially identified in the organelle genomes of lower eukaryotes and plants, and it has been suggested that they are the progenitors of nuclear spliceosomal introns. Group II self-splicing introns were shown to be present in bacteria in 1993, since when the various bacterial genome sequencing projects have led to a significant increase in the number of group II intron sequences present in databases. However, few of these introns have been characterized, and most were identified on the basis of their intron-encoded protein (IEP), with little data available concerning their ribozyme/RNA structure. Their frequency in prokaryotes is also unknown. We attempt here to provide a first comprehensive review of bacterial group II introns based on recent genome sequencing data and mechanistic studies.

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