Mechanisms of RNA catalysis

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    37 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Ribozymes are RNA molecules that act as chemical catalysts. In contemporary cells, most known ribozymes carry out phosphoryl transfer reactions. The nucleolytic ribozymes comprise a class of five structurally-distinct species that bring about site-specific cleavage by nucleophilic attack of the 2'-O on the adjacent 3'-P to form a cyclic 2',3'-phosphate. In general, they will also catalyse the reverse reaction. As a class, all these ribozymes appear to use general acid-base catalysis to accelerate these reactions by about a million-fold. In the Varkud satellite ribozyme, we have shown that the cleavage reaction is catalysed by guanine and adenine nucleobases acting as general base and acid, respectively. The hairpin ribozyme most probably uses a closely similar mechanism. Guanine nucleobases appear to be a common choice of general base, but the general acid is more variable. By contrast, the larger ribozymes such as the self-splicing introns and RNase P act as metalloenzymes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2910-2917
    Number of pages8
    JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences
    Volume366
    Issue number1580
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2011

    Keywords

    • ribozymes
    • catalytic mechanism
    • general acid-base catalysis
    • metal ion catalysis
    • VARKUD SATELLITE RIBOZYME
    • DELTA VIRUS RIBOZYME
    • ACID-BASE CATALYSIS
    • GROUP-II INTRON
    • ACTIVE-SITE
    • CRYSTAL-STRUCTURE
    • STRUCTURAL BASIS
    • GLMS RIBOZYME
    • METAL-ION
    • HAMMERHEAD RIBOZYME

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