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From Enigma to Revelation: Unravelling Biological Functions of Ubiquitous Small Ribozymes


Kienbeck, Kasimir; Malfertheiner, Lukas; Zelger-Paulus, Susann; Johannsen, Silke; von Mering, Christian; Sigel, Roland K O (2024). From Enigma to Revelation: Unravelling Biological Functions of Ubiquitous Small Ribozymes. Chimia, 78(4):200-204.

Abstract

RNA, widely recognized as an information-carrier molecule, is capable of catalyzing essential biological processes through ribozymes. Despite their ubiquity, specific functions in a biological context and phenotypes based on the ribozymes' activity are often unknown. Here, we present the discovery of a subgroup of minimal HDV-like ribozymes, which reside 3' to viral tRNAs and appear to cleave the 3'-trailers of viral premature tRNA transcripts. This proposed tRNA-processing function is unprecedented for any ribozymes, thus, we designate this subgroup as theta ribozymes. Most theta ribozymes were identified in Caudoviricetes bacteriophages, the main constituent (>90%) of the mammalian gut virome. Intriguingly, our findings further suggest the involvement of theta ribozymes in the transition of certain bacteriophages between distinct genetic codes, thus possibly contributing to the phage lysis trigger. Our discovery expands the limited repertoire of biological functions attributed to HDV-like ribozymes and provides insights into the fascinating world of RNA catalysis.

Abstract

RNA, widely recognized as an information-carrier molecule, is capable of catalyzing essential biological processes through ribozymes. Despite their ubiquity, specific functions in a biological context and phenotypes based on the ribozymes' activity are often unknown. Here, we present the discovery of a subgroup of minimal HDV-like ribozymes, which reside 3' to viral tRNAs and appear to cleave the 3'-trailers of viral premature tRNA transcripts. This proposed tRNA-processing function is unprecedented for any ribozymes, thus, we designate this subgroup as theta ribozymes. Most theta ribozymes were identified in Caudoviricetes bacteriophages, the main constituent (>90%) of the mammalian gut virome. Intriguingly, our findings further suggest the involvement of theta ribozymes in the transition of certain bacteriophages between distinct genetic codes, thus possibly contributing to the phage lysis trigger. Our discovery expands the limited repertoire of biological functions attributed to HDV-like ribozymes and provides insights into the fascinating world of RNA catalysis.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:540 Chemistry
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > General Chemistry
Language:English
Date:24 April 2024
Deposited On:23 May 2024 16:53
Last Modified:30 Jun 2024 01:41
Publisher:Swiss Chemical Society
ISSN:0009-4293
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.2533/chimia.2024.200
PubMed ID:38676609
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)