Atomic level architecture of group I introns revealed

Trends Biochem Sci. 2006 Jan;31(1):41-51. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2005.11.008. Epub 2005 Dec 13.


Twenty-two years after their discovery as ribozymes, the self-splicing group I introns are finally disclosing their architecture at the atomic level. The crystal structures of three group I introns solved at moderately high resolution (3.1-3.8A) reveal a remarkably conserved catalytic core bound to the metal ions required for activity. The structure of the core is stabilized by an intron-specific set of long-range interactions that involves peripheral elements. Group I intron structures thus provide much awaited and extremely valuable snapshots of how these ribozymes coordinate substrate binding and catalysis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Conserved Sequence
  • DNA / chemistry
  • DNA / ultrastructure*
  • DNA, Bacterial / chemistry
  • DNA, Bacterial / ultrastructure
  • Exons
  • Introns*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • RNA / chemistry
  • RNA / ultrastructure
  • RNA, Catalytic / chemistry
  • RNA, Catalytic / ultrastructure


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Catalytic
  • RNA
  • DNA