PerspectiveCell Biology

Bringing It Together with RNA

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Science  22 Jul 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6041, pp. 412-413
DOI: 10.1126/science.1209685

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The biochemical reactions that underlie life have evolved to be spatially organized within cells. This organization ranges from the simple colocalization of molecules, such as an enzyme and its substrate, to the compartmentalization of metabolic pathways within organelles. There is growing interest in mimicking this spatial organization to engineer synthetic pathways in microbes for producing drugs, fuels, and commodity chemicals. On page 470 of this issue, Delebecque et al. (1) describe the design and construction of self-assembling RNA scaffolds that spatially organize enzymes in bacterial cells. In doing so, they advance nucleic acid nanotechnology into a cellular environment and supply metabolic engineers with a new tool for structurally optimizing biosynthesis processes in cells.

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