A covalent crosslink converts the hammerhead ribozyme from a ribonuclease to an RNA ligase

Tracy K. Stage-Zimmermann, Olke C. Uhlenbeck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

The hammerhead ribozyme is a more efficient ribonuclease than an RNA ligase. Under typical reaction conditions, the rate of RNA chain cleavage is ∼ 100-fold faster than the rate of the reverse ligation reaction such that virtually all of the hammerhead is in its cleaved form at equilibrium. Here we show that the introduction of a crosslink away from the catalytic core of the hammerhead has little effect on the cleavage rate but dramatically increases the ligation rate, thereby making the hammerhead an efficient RNA ligase. This experiment emphasizes the role of molecular flexibility in defining the properties of a macromolecular catalyst and suggests why other small ribozymes are more efficient ligases than ribonucleases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)863-867
Number of pages5
JournalNature Structural Biology
Volume8
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics

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