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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2011 Oct 27;366(1580):2929-35. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2011.0143.

The chemical versatility of RNA.

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1
Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511, USA.

Abstract

The ability of RNA to both store genetic information and catalyse chemical reactions has led to the hypothesis that it predates DNA and proteins. While there is no doubt that RNA is capable of storing the genetic information of a primitive organism, only two classes of reactions-phosphoryl transfer and peptide bond formation-have been observed to be catalysed by RNA in nature. However, these naturally occurring ribozymes use a wide range of catalytic strategies that could be applied to other reactions. Furthermore, RNA can bind several cofactors that are used by protein enzymes to facilitate a wide variety of chemical processes. Despite its limited functional groups, these observations indicate RNA is a versatile molecule that could, in principle, catalyse the myriad reactions necessary to sustain life.

PMID:
21930584
PMCID:
PMC3158924
DOI:
10.1098/rstb.2011.0143
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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