Research Articles

Isolation of new ribozymes from a large pool of random sequences [see comment]

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Science  10 Sep 1993:
Vol. 261, Issue 5127, pp. 1411-1418
DOI: 10.1126/science.7690155


An iterative in vitro selection procedure was used to isolate a new class of catalytic RNAs (ribozymes) from a large pool of random-sequence RNA molecules. These ribozymes ligate two RNA molecules that are aligned on a template by catalyzing the attack of a 3'-hydroxyl on an adjacent 5'-triphosphate--a reaction similar to that employed by the familiar protein enzymes that synthesize RNA. The corresponding uncatalyzed reaction also yields a 3',5'-phosphodiester bond. In vitro evolution of the population of new ribozymes led to improvement of the average ligation activity and the emergence of ribozymes with reaction rates 7 million times faster than the uncatalyzed reaction rate.