RNA-catalysed RNA polymerization using nucleoside triphosphates

  title={RNA-catalysed RNA polymerization using nucleoside triphosphates},
  author={Eric H. Ekland and David P. Bartel},
THE hypothesis that certain RNA molecules may be able to catalyse RNA replication is central to current theories of the early evolution of life1–6. In support of this idea, we describe here an RNA that synthesizes RNA using the same reaction as that employed by protein enzymes that catalyse RNA polymerization. In the presence of the appropriate template RNA and nucleoside triphosphates, the ribozyme extends an RNA primer by successive addition of up to six mononucleotides. The added nucleotides… 

RNA-Catalyzed RNA Polymerization: Accurate and General RNA-Templated Primer Extension

An RNA molecule is described that catalyzes the type of polymerization needed for RNA replication, which uses nucleoside triphosphates and the coding information of an RNA template to extend an RNA primer by the successive addition of up to 14 nucleotides.

Creation and evolution of new ribozymes.

An RNA is generated that synthesizes RNA using the same reaction as that employed by protein enzymes that catalyze RNA polymerization, and shows significant template fidelity.

A DNA enzyme that mimics the first step of RNA splicing

An artificial DNA enzyme is discovered that mimics the first step of in vivo RNA splicing, and branch-site adenosine reactivity seems to be mechanistically favored by nucleic acid enzymes.

Polymerase ribozyme efficiency increased by G/T-rich DNA oligonucleotides.

The results indicate that these DNA sequences function by establishing many weak and nonspecific base-pairing interactions to the single-stranded portion of the template, which could have had important functions in an RNA world.

A ribozyme that lacks cytidine

In vitro evolution is used to obtain an RNA ligase ribozyme that lacks cytidine and has a catalytic rate that is about 105-fold faster than the uncatalysed rate of template-directed RNA ligation.

A Cross-chiral RNA Polymerase Ribozyme

A cross-chiral RNA polymerase is developed using in vitro evolution starting from a population of random-sequence RNAs, where the enzyme’s activity is sufficient to generate full-length copies of its enantiomer through the templated joining of 11 component oligonucleotides.



RNA as an RNA polymerase: net elongation of an RNA primer catalyzed by the Tetrahymena ribozyme.

The demonstration that an RNA enzyme can catalyze net elongation of an RNA primer supports theories of prebiotic RNA self-replication.

A model for the RNA-catalyzed replication of RNA.

  • T. Cech
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1986
It seems possible that RNA catalysts might have played a part in prebiotic nucleic acid replication, prior to the availability of useful proteins, if the RNA enzyme could use another copy of itself as a template, RNA self-replication could be achieved.

Novel RNA polymerization reaction catalyzed by a group I ribozyme.

A bacterial tRNA precursor containing a 205 nt self‐splicing group I intron is converted into a RNA enzyme that catalyzes polymerization of an external RNA substrate that converts 20 nt oligoribon nucleotides into polyribonucleotides up to at least 180 nt by 10 nt increments.

A multisubunit ribozyme that is a catalyst of and template for complementary strand RNA synthesis.

Results suggest that prebiotically synthesized oligonucleotides might have been able to assemble into a complex capable of self-replication.

RNA-mediated ligation of self-cleavage products of a Neurospora mitochondrial plasmid transcript.

  • B. SavilleR. Collins
  • Biology, Chemistry
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1991
It is reported here that monomeric VS RNA synthesized in vitro by self-cleavage of a multimeric transcript can perform an RNA-mediated self-ligation reaction producing circular RNAs indistinguishable from those isolated from mitochondria.

RNA catalysis and the origins of life.

  • L. Orgel
  • Biology, Chemistry
    Journal of theoretical biology
  • 1986

Group II intron RNA catalysis of progressive nucleotide insertion: a model for RNA editing.

The results suggest that RNA editing occurs by way of a concerted, two-step transesterification mechanism and that RNA splicing and RNA editing might be prebiotically related mechanisms; possibly, both evolved from a primordial demand for self-replication.

Structurally complex and highly active RNA ligases derived from random RNA sequences.

Seven families of RNA ligases, previously isolated from random RNA sequences, fall into three classes on the basis of secondary structure and regiospecificity of ligation, which implies the existence of a large number of distinct RNA structures of equivalent complexity and activity.