Steven Zimmerly

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Catalytic RNAs are often regarded as molecular fossils from the RNA World, yet it is usually difficult to get more specific information about their evolution. Here we have investigated the coevolution of group II intron RNA structures with their intron-encoded reverse transcriptases (RTs). Unlike group I introns, there has been no obvious reshuffling(More)
Mobile group II introns, found in bacterial and organellar genomes, are both catalytic RNAs and retrotransposable elements. They use an extraordinary mobility mechanism in which the excised intron RNA reverse splices directly into a DNA target site and is then reverse transcribed by the intron-encoded protein. After DNA insertion, the introns remove(More)
Group II introns are mobile ribozymes that self-splice from precursor RNAs to yield excised intron lariat RNAs, which then invade new genomic DNA sites by reverse splicing. The introns encode a reverse transcriptase that stabilizes the catalytically active RNA structure for forward and reverse splicing, and afterwards converts the integrated intron RNA back(More)
Group II introns are widely believed to have been ancestors of spliceosomal introns, yet little is known about their own evolutionary history. In order to address the evolution of mobile group II introns, we have compiled 71 open reading frames (ORFs) related to group II intron reverse transcriptases and subjected their derived amino acid sequences to(More)
Group II introns are novel genetic elements that have properties of both catalytic RNAs and retroelements. Initially identified in organellar genomes of plants and lower eukaryotes, group II introns are now being discovered in increasing numbers in bacterial genomes. Few of the newly sequenced bacterial introns are correctly identified or annotated by those(More)
Retroelements are usually considered to be eukaryotic elements because of the large number and variety in eukaryotic genomes. By comparison, reverse transcriptases (RTs) are rare in bacteria, with only three characterized classes: retrons, group II introns and diversity-generating retroelements (DGRs). Here, we present the results of a bioinformatic survey(More)
Mobile group II introns encode reverse transcriptases and insert site specifically into intronless alleles (homing). Here, in vitro experiments show that homing of the yeast mtDNA group II intron aI2 occurs by reverse transcription at a double-strand break in the recipient DNA. A site-specific endonuclease cleaves the antisense strand of recipient DNA at(More)
Group II introns are a class of retroelements capable of carrying out both self-splicing and retromobility reactions. In recent years, the number of known group II introns has increased dramatically, particularly in bacteria, and the new information is altering our understanding of these intriguing elements. Here we review the basic properties of group II(More)
The mobility (homing) of the yeast mitochondrial DNA group II intron al2 occurs via target DNA-primed reverse transcription at a double-strand break in the recipient DNA. Here, we show that the site-specific DNA endonuclease that makes the double-strand break is a ribonucleoprotein complex containing the al2-encoded reverse transcriptase protein and excised(More)