Structure and function of regulatory RNA elements: Ribozymes that regulate gene expression

William G. Scott, Monika Martick, Young In Chi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Since their discovery in the 1980s, it has gradually become apparent that there are several functional classes of naturally occurring ribozymes. These include ribozymes that mediate RNA splicing (the Group I and Group II introns, and possibly the RNA components of the spliceosome), RNA processing ribozymes (RNase P, which cleaves precursor tRNAs and other structural RNA precursors), the peptidyl transferase center of the ribosome, and small, self-cleaving genomic ribozymes (including the hammerhead, hairpin, HDV and VS ribozymes). The most recently discovered functional class of ribozymes include those that are embedded in the untranslated regions of mature mRNAs that regulate the gene's translational expression. These include the prokaryotic glmS ribozyme, a bacterial riboswitch, and a variant of the hammerhead ribozyme, which has been found embedded in mammalian mRNAs. With the discovery of a mammalian riboswitch ribozyme, the question of how an embedded hammerhead ribozyme's switching mechanism works becomes a compelling question. Recent structural results suggest several possibilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)634-641
Number of pages8
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • RNA gene regulation
  • Riboswitch
  • Ribozyme


Dive into the research topics of 'Structure and function of regulatory RNA elements: Ribozymes that regulate gene expression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this