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J Biol Chem. 1998 May 22;273(21):13182-8.

Substrate specificity of delta ribozyme cleavage.

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Département de biochimie, Faculté de médecine, Université de Sherbrooke, Québec, J1H 5N4, Canada.


The specificity of delta ribozyme cleavage was investigated using a trans-acting antigenomic delta ribozyme. Under single turnover conditions, the wild type ribozyme cleaved the 11-mer ribonucleotide substrate with a rate constant of 0.34 min-1, an apparent Km of 17.9 nM and an apparent second-order rate constant of 1.89 x 10(7) min-1 M-1. The substrate specificity of the delta ribozyme was thoroughly investigated using a collection of substrates that varied in either the length or the nucleotide sequence of their P1 stems. We observed that not only is the base pairing of the substrate and the ribozyme important to cleavage activity, but also both the identity and the combination of the nucleotide sequence in the substrates are essential for cleavage activity. We show that the nucleotides in the middle of the P1 stem are essential for substrate binding and subsequent steps in the cleavage pathway. The introduction of any mismatches at these positions resulted in a complete lack of cleavage by the wild type ribozyme. Our findings suggest that factors more complex than simple base pairing interactions, such as tertiary structure interactions, could play an important role in the substrate specificity of delta ribozyme cleavage.

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