Before the discovery of catalytic RNA, tRNA molecules were the most studied RNA molecules for understanding RNA folding. Afterwards, group I introns, because of their stability and the fact that structural folding could be monitored by following their catalytic activity, became the molecule of choice for studying RNA architecture and folding. A major advantage of group I introns for studying the catalytic activity of RNA molecules is that catalytic activity is triggered by the addition of external guanosine co-factors. The self-splicing activity can therefore be precisely controlled. Using group I introns, several RNA motifs central to RNA-RNA self-assembly and folding were discovered. The analysis of the recent X-ray structures of the rRNA subunits indicates that several motifs present in the ribosome occur also in various group I introns.
Conference Article| November 01 2002
Group I introns and RNA folding
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E. Westhof; Group I introns and RNA folding. Biochem Soc Trans 1 November 2002; 30 (6): 1149–1152. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/bst0301149
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