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RNA. 2011 Apr;17(4):728-36. doi: 10.1261/rna.2590811. Epub 2011 Mar 2.

An expanded collection and refined consensus model of glmS ribozymes.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8103, USA.


Self-cleaving glmS ribozymes selectively bind glucosamine-6-phosphate (GlcN6P) and use this metabolite as a cofactor to promote self-cleavage by internal phosphoester transfer. Representatives of the glmS ribozyme class are found in Gram-positive bacteria where they reside in the 5' untranslated regions (UTRs) of glmS messenger RNAs that code for the essential enzyme L-glutamine:D-fructose-6-phosphate aminotransferase. By using comparative sequence analyses, we have expanded the number of glmS ribozyme representatives from 160 to 463. All but two glmS ribozymes are present in glmS mRNAs and most exhibit striking uniformity in sequence and structure, which are features that make representatives attractive targets for antibacterial drug development. However, our discovery of rare variants broadens the consensus sequence and structure model. For example, in the Deinococcus-Thermus phylum, several structural variants exist that carry additional stems within the catalytic core and changes to the architecture of core-supporting substructures. These findings reveal that glmS ribozymes have a broader phylogenetic distribution than previously known and suggest that additional rare structural variants may remain to be discovered.

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