Classification of the nucleolytic ribozymes based upon catalytic mechanism

David M. J. Lilley (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
84 Downloads (Pure)


The nucleolytic ribozymes carry out site-specific RNA cleavage reactions by nucleophilic attack of the 2'-oxygen atom on the adjacent phosphorus with an acceleration of a million-fold or greater. A major part of this arises from concerted general acid-base catalysis. Recent identification of new ribozymes has expanded the group to a total of nine and this provides a new opportunity to identify sub-groupings according to the nature of the general base and acid. These include nucleobases, hydrated metal ions, and 2'-hydroxyl groups. Evolution has selected a number of different combinations of these elements that lead to efficient catalysis. These differences provide a new mechanistic basis for classifying these ribozymes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1462
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2019


  • Nucleolytic ribozymes
  • general acid-base catalysis
  • metal ions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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