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Molecules 2010, 15(8), 5389-5407; doi:10.3390/molecules15085389

Hammerhead Ribozymes: True Metal or Nucleobase Catalysis? Where Is the Catalytic Power from?

Laboratoire ARN-RNP Maturation-Structure-Fonction, Enzymologie Moléculaire et Structurale (AREMS), UMR 7214 CNRS-UHP, Nancy Universités, Faculté des Sciences et Technologies, Bld. des Aiguillettes, BP 70239, 54506, Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy, France
Received: 1 June 2010 / Revised: 29 July 2010 / Accepted: 4 August 2010 / Published: 6 August 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catalytic Nucleic Acids)
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Abstract

The hammerhead ribozyme was first considered as a metalloenzyme despite persistent inconsistencies between structural and functional data. In the last decade, metal ions were confirmed as catalysts in self-splicing ribozymes but displaced by nucleobases in self-cleaving ribozymes. However, a model of catalysis just relying on nucleobases as catalysts does not fully fit some recent data. Gathering and comparing data on metal ions in self-cleaving and self-splicing ribozymes, the roles of divalent metal ions and nucleobases are revisited. Hypothetical models based on cooperation between metal ions and nucleobases are proposed for the catalysis and evolution of this prototype in RNA catalysis.
Keywords: ribozyme; RNA catalysis; metal ion; hammerhead; nucleobase; self-cleaving; self-splicing; evolution ribozyme; RNA catalysis; metal ion; hammerhead; nucleobase; self-cleaving; self-splicing; evolution
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Leclerc, F. Hammerhead Ribozymes: True Metal or Nucleobase Catalysis? Where Is the Catalytic Power from? Molecules 2010, 15, 5389-5407.

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