Ribozymes are catalytic RNA molecules, enzymes made of RNA. They were probably the key to the early development of life on the planet in the RNA world, but are still present in contemporary cells, carrying out some of the most important reactions such as the synthesis of proteins. Although clearly not as well suited to this role as proteins, ribozymes nevertheless can achieve some impressive rate enhancements. Mechanistic and structural studies have revealed much of the way that this is achieved. But perhaps even more interesting ribozyme species may still await discovery.

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