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Cell. 1988 Aug 26;54(5):693-703.

Novel splicing mechanism for the ribosomal RNA intron in the archaebacterium Desulfurococcus mobilis.

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Biostructural Chemistry, Aarhus Universitet, Denmark.


The intron of the 23S rRNA gene of D. mobilis is excised from the pre-23S RNA at specific sites in vivo and subsequently ligated to form a stable circular RNA, with a normal 5'-3' phosphodiester bond, containing the entire intron sequence; 95% of this RNA codes for a protein of 194 amino acids that can be expressed in E. coli. Crude cell extracts from D. mobilis also induce a two-step slicing reaction in vitro, producing the same circular intron RNA but a low yield of ligated exons. Cleavage depends on the RNA structure adjacent to the cleavage site and yields a 3'-terminal phosphate. Splicing is enhanced by GTP, but does not require divalent metal ions. The cleavage and exon-splicing reactions resemble those found for tRNA introns in eukaryotes and a possible structural rationale for this similarity is considered together with its possible implications for the origin of eukaryotic rRNA and tRNA introns.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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