Enzymatic Cleavage of RNA by RNA (Nobel Lecture)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Biological catalysis by RNA—this discovery at the beginning of the 1980s was sensational, since it had been assumed that only proteins were capable of functioning as biocatalysts. Sidney Altman studied the enzyme ribonuclease P, which is composed of RNA and protein subunits, and found conditions under which the RNA component could catalyze the formation of mature tRNA in the absence of protein. Thomas R. Cech discovered the phenomenon of self‐splicing rRNA in Tetrahymena thermophila. This rRNA catalyzes the consecutive transesterification of specific phosphodiester groups in its nucleotide sequence and thereby the excision of an intervening sequence (IVS; see picture below) and ligation of the remaining rRNA molecule. The work of Altman and Cech, for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1989, upset a paradigm in biochemistry. (Figure Presented.)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-758
Number of pages10
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Volume29
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

RNA
Ribonuclease P
Proteins
Biochemistry
Transesterification
Protein Subunits
Enzymes
Transfer RNA
Introns
Catalysis
Biocatalysts
Nucleotides
Molecules

Keywords

  • Enzyme activity
  • Nobel lecture
  • Nucleic acids
  • RNA cleavage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)

Cite this

Enzymatic Cleavage of RNA by RNA (Nobel Lecture). / Altman, Sidney.

In: Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, Vol. 29, No. 7, 1990, p. 749-758.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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