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EMBO J. 1995 Sep 15;14(18):4551-7.

Selection of novel Mg(2+)-dependent self-cleaving ribozymes.

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CNR Institute of Cell Biology, Rome, Italy.


Four RNA motifs are known that catalyse site-specific cleavage in the presence of Mg2+ ions, all discovered in natural RNAs. In a single in vitro selection experiment we have isolated representatives of five novel classes of Mg(2+)-dependent ribozymes. Small versions of three of these showed that a very simple internal loop type of secondary structure is responsible for the activity. One of these was synthesized in a bimolecular form, and compared directly with the hammerhead ribozyme; for the new ribozyme, the cleavage step of the reaction is much faster than the spontaneous rate of phosphodiester bond cleavage, yet substantially slower than that for the hammerhead. The results suggest that many more Mg(2+)-dependent self-cleaving RNA sequences can be found.

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