A Faster Triphosphorylation Ribozyme.


In support of the RNA world hypothesis, previous studies identified trimetaphosphate (Tmp) as a plausible energy source for RNA world organisms. In one of these studies, catalytic RNAs (ribozymes) that catalyze the triphosphorylation of RNA 5'-hydroxyl groups using Tmp were obtained by in vitro selection. One ribozyme (TPR1) was analyzed in more detail. TPR1 catalyzes the triphosphorylation reaction to a rate of 0.013 min-1 under selection conditions (50 mM Tmp, 100 mM MgCl2, 22°C). To identify a triphosphorylation ribozyme that catalyzes faster triphosphorylation, and possibly learn about its secondary structure TPR1 was subjected to a doped selection. The resulting ribozyme, TPR1e, contains seven mutations relative to TPR1, displays a previously unidentified duplex that constrains the ribozyme's structure, and reacts at a 24-fold faster rate than the parent ribozyme. Under optimal conditions (150 mM Tmp, 650 mM MgCl2, 40°C), the triphosphorylation rate of TRP1e reaches 6.8 min-1

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