A multisubunit ribozyme that is a catalyst of and template for complementary strand RNA synthesis

Science. 1991 Mar 29;251(5001):1605-8. doi: 10.1126/science.1707185.


Derivatives of the sunY self-splicing intron efficiently catalyzed the synthesis of complementary strand RNA by template-directed assembly of oligonucleotides. These ribozymes were separated into three short RNA fragments that formed active catalytic complexes. One of the multisubunit sunY derivatives catalyzed the synthesis of a strand of RNA complementary to one of its own subunits. These results suggest that prebiotically synthesized oligonucleotides might have been able to assemble into a complex capable of self-replication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Composition
  • Base Sequence
  • Introns*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Oligoribonucleotides / metabolism
  • RNA / biosynthesis*
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA Splicing
  • RNA, Catalytic / metabolism*
  • Templates, Genetic
  • Tetrahymena / genetics*


  • Oligoribonucleotides
  • RNA, Catalytic
  • RNA