M1 RNA, the catalytic RNA subunit of RNase P from Escherichia coli, has been covalently linked at its 3' terminus to oligonucleotides (guide sequences) that guide the enzyme to target RNAs through hybridization with the target sequences. These constructs (M1GS RNAs) have been used to determine some minimal features of model substrates. As few as 3 bp on the 3' side of the site of cleavage in a substrate complex and 1 nt on the 5' side are required for cleavage to occur. The cytosines in the 3' terminal CCA sequence of the model substrates are important for cleavage efficiency but not cleavage site selection. A purine (base-paired or not) at the 3' side of the cleavage site is important both for cleavage site selection and efficiency. M1GS RNAs provide both a simple system for characterization of the reaction governed by M1 RNA and a tool for gene therapy.
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