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Molecules 2017, 22(1), 75; doi:10.3390/molecules22010075

Design and Experimental Evolution of trans-Splicing Group I Intron Ribozymes

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego, CA 92093-0356, USA
Received: 28 September 2016 / Revised: 27 December 2016 / Accepted: 29 December 2016 / Published: 2 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ribozymes and RNA Catalysis)
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Abstract

Group I intron ribozymes occur naturally as cis-splicing ribozymes, in the form of introns that do not require the spliceosome for their removal. Instead, they catalyze two consecutive trans-phosphorylation reactions to remove themselves from a primary transcript, and join the two flanking exons. Designed, trans-splicing variants of these ribozymes replace the 3′-portion of a substrate with the ribozyme’s 3′-exon, replace the 5′-portion with the ribozyme’s 5′-exon, or insert/remove an internal sequence of the substrate. Two of these designs have been evolved experimentally in cells, leading to variants of group I intron ribozymes that splice more efficiently, recruit a cellular protein to modify the substrate’s gene expression, or elucidate evolutionary pathways of ribozymes in cells. Some of the artificial, trans-splicing ribozymes are promising as tools in therapy, and as model systems for RNA evolution in cells. This review provides an overview of the different types of trans-splicing group I intron ribozymes that have been generated, and the experimental evolution systems that have been used to improve them. View Full-Text
Keywords: ribozyme; evolution; splicing ribozyme; evolution; splicing
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Müller, U.F. Design and Experimental Evolution of trans-Splicing Group I Intron Ribozymes. Molecules 2017, 22, 75.

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