Self-cleaving catalytic RNA

D. M. Long, O. C. Uhlenbeck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


We describe the structures and catalytic properties of several naturally occurring self-cleaving RNA motifs that give 2', 3' cyclic phosphate products. The hammerhead and hairpin motifs are derived from plant pathogenic RNAs and the delta motif is part of the human hepatitis delta element. A fourth motif from Neurospora is less well characterized. By assembling the self-cleaving RNAs from more than one oligoribonucleotide, the cleavage reaction can be examined under a variety of conditions and catalytic turnover can be demonstrated. Mutagenesis and chemical methods to introduce modified nucleotides allowed the structural requirements to be deduced. The role of divalent cations in the catalytic mechanism is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-30
Number of pages6
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993


  • catalytic RNA
  • ribozymes
  • self-cleaving RNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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