Deoxyribozymes: new players in the ancient game of biocatalysis

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 1999 Jun;9(3):315-23. doi: 10.1016/S0959-440X(99)80042-6.


The repetitive and extraordinarily stable polynucleotide chains of DNA serve as an ideal storage system for genetic information. Although it is best known for its helical structure and relatively inert character, in vitro selection can be used to compel DNA to perform a surprising variety of chemical reactions. These artificial DNA enzymes or 'deoxyribozymes' generate large chemical rate enhancements and demonstrate precise substrate recognition, much like their protein and RNA counterparts. Recent studies with these prototypic deoxyribozymes indicate that DNA has a substantial untapped potential for intricate structure formation that could be exploited in novel chemical and biological catalysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / chemistry
  • Base Sequence
  • Catalysis
  • DNA, Catalytic
  • DNA, Single-Stranded / chemistry*
  • Metals, Heavy / chemistry
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Polynucleotide 5'-Hydroxyl-Kinase / chemistry
  • Porphyrins / chemistry
  • RNA, Catalytic / chemistry


  • Amino Acids
  • DNA, Catalytic
  • DNA, Single-Stranded
  • Metals, Heavy
  • Porphyrins
  • RNA, Catalytic
  • Polynucleotide 5'-Hydroxyl-Kinase