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Science. 1993 Sep 10;261(5127):1411-8.

Isolation of new ribozymes from a large pool of random sequences [see comment].

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Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114.
MA Gen Hosp, Boston


An iterative in vitro selection procedure was used to isolate a new class of catalytic RNAs (ribozymes) from a large pool of random-sequence RNA molecules. These ribozymes ligate two RNA molecules that are aligned on a template by catalyzing the attack of a 3'-hydroxyl on an adjacent 5'-triphosphate--a reaction similar to that employed by the familiar protein enzymes that synthesize RNA. The corresponding uncatalyzed reaction also yields a 3',5'-phosphodiester bond. In vitro evolution of the population of new ribozymes led to improvement of the average ligation activity and the emergence of ribozymes with reaction rates 7 million times faster than the uncatalyzed reaction rate.

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