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Nat Chem Biol. 2014 Jan;10(1):56-60. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.1386. Epub 2013 Nov 17.

A widespread self-cleaving ribozyme class is revealed by bioinformatics.

Author information

1
1] Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. [2] Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. [3].
2
Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
3
1] Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. [2] Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. [3] Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

Abstract

Ribozymes are noncoding RNAs that promote chemical transformations with rate enhancements approaching those of protein enzymes. Although ribozymes are likely to have been abundant during the RNA world era, only ten classes are known to exist among contemporary organisms. We report the discovery and analysis of an additional self-cleaving ribozyme class, called twister, which is present in many species of bacteria and eukarya. Nearly 2,700 twister ribozymes were identified that conform to a secondary structure consensus that is small yet complex, with three stems conjoined by internal and terminal loops. Two pseudoknots provide tertiary structure contacts that are critical for catalytic activity. The twister ribozyme motif provides another example of a natural RNA catalyst and calls attention to the potentially varied biological roles of this and other classes of widely distributed self-cleaving RNAs.

PMID:
24240507
PMCID:
PMC3867598
DOI:
10.1038/nchembio.1386
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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