An RNA segment that has the ability to catalyze the cleavage and
formation of covalent bonds in RNA strands at specific sites.An RNA segment that
has the ability to catalyze the cleavage and formation of covalent bonds in RNA
strands at specific sites.
segment that has the ability to catalyze the cleavage and formation of covalent
in RNA strands at specific sites.
until 1990, were proteins. But then it was discovered that some RNA
molecules can act as enzymes; that is, catalyze covalent changes in the
structure of substrates (most of which are also RNA molecules). Catalytic RNA
molecules are called ribozymes.
Structure of hammerhead ribozyme
A ribozyme (from
ribonucleic acid enzyme, also called RNA enzyme or catalytic RNA) is an RNA
molecule possessing a well defined tertiary structure that enables it to
catalyze a chemical reaction. Many natural ribozymes catalyze either the
hydrolysis of one of their own phosphodiester bonds, or the hydrolysis of bonds
in other RNAs, but they have also been found to catalyze the aminotransferase
activity of the ribosome.
Investigators studying the origin of life have produced ribozymes in the
laboratory that are capable of catalyzing their own synthesis under very
specific conditions, such as an RNA polymerase ribozyme. Mutagenesis and
selection has been performed resulting in isolation of improved variants of the
"Round-18" polymerase ribozyme from 2001. "B6.61" is able to add up to 20
nucleotides to a primer template in 24 hours, until it decomposes by hydrolysis
of its phosphodiester bonds.
Some ribozymes may play an important role as therapeutic agents, as enzymes
which tailor defined RNA sequences, as biosensors, and for applications in
functional genomics and gene discovery.
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