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Genes Dev. 1992 Jan;6(1):129-34.

In vitro selection of active hairpin ribozymes by sequential RNA-catalyzed cleavage and ligation reactions.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Markey Center for Molecular Genetics, University of Vermont, Burlington 05405.


In vitro selection methods provide rapid and extremely powerful tools for elucidating interactions within and between macromolecules. Here, we describe the development of an in vitro selection procedure that permits the rapid isolation and evaluation of functional hairpin ribozymes from a complex pool of sequence variants containing an extremely low frequency of catalytically proficient molecules. We have used this method to analyze the sequence requirements of two regions of the ribozyme-substrate complex: a 7-nucleotide internal loop within the ribozyme that is essential for catalytic function and substrate sequences surrounding the cleavage-ligation site. Results indicate that only 3 of the 16,384 internal loop variants examined have high cleavage and ligation activity and that the ribozyme has a strong requirement for guanosine immediately 3' to the cleavage-ligation site.

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