The stereochemical course of group II intron self-splicing

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Science  09 Dec 1994:
Vol. 266, Issue 5191, pp. 1685-1688
DOI: 10.1126/science.7527587


The stereochemical specificities and reaction courses for both self-splicing steps of a group II intron have been determined by phosphorothioate substitution at the 5' and 3' splice site phosphodiester bonds. Both steps of the splicing reaction proceeded with a phosphorothioate in the Sp configuration but were blocked by the Rp diastereomer. Both steps also proceeded with inversion of stereochemical configuration around phosphorus, consistent with a concerted transesterification reaction. These results are identical to those found for nuclear precursor mRNA (pre-mRNA) splicing and provide support for the hypothesis that group II introns and nuclear pre-mRNA introns share a common evolutionary history.