Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

2015 Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James (Jim) CleavesII, Daniele L. Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Daniel Rouan, Tilman Spohn, Stéphane Tirard, Michel Viso

RNA Replicase Ribozyme

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-44185-5_5319

Definition

An RNA replicase ribozyme is an RNA enzyme (ribozyme) that catalyzes the replication of RNA sequences. RNA replicase ribozymes are a central feature of RNA world theories of the origin of life.

History

The term RNA replicase was introduced to describe protein enzymes that polymerize RNA in an RNA-dependent manner (Haruna et al. 1963). These protein enzymes replicate the genomes of RNA viruses through the template-directed polymerization of mononucleotides. It was not until decades later that ribozymes capable of similar polymerization reactions and RNA replication were identified through directed evolution in vitro (Johnston et al. 2001; Lincoln and Joyce 2009).

Overview

The replication of information-containing molecules by a replicase provides a means of establishing heritability. The emergence of such a replicase would therefore satisfy one of the fundamental requirements of life. RNA’s dual biological role of both catalyzing chemical reactions and storing genetic...

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References

  1. Attwater J et al (2013) In-ice evolution of RNA polymerase ribozyme activity. Nat Chem 5:1011–1018CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ekland EH, Bartel DP (1996) RNA-catalysed RNA polymerization using nucleoside triphosphates. Nature 382(6589):373–376CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  3. Haruna I et al (1963) An RNA “replicase” induced by and selective for a viral RNA: isolation and properties. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 50(5):905–911CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  4. Johnston WK et al (2001) RNA-catalyzed RNA polymerization: accurate and general RNA-templated primer extension. Science 292(5520):1319–1325CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  5. Lincoln TA, Joyce GF (2009) Self-sustained replication of an RNA enzyme. Science 323(5918):1229–1232CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  6. Vaiday N et al (2012) Spontaneous network formation among cooperative RNA replicators. Nature 491:72–77CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  7. Zaher HS, Unrau PJ (2007) Selection of an improved RNA polymerase ribozyme with superior extension and fidelity. RNA 13(7):1017–1026CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NASA Ames Research CenterMoffett FieldUSA