The RNase P family

RNA Biol. Sep-Oct 2009;6(4):362-9. doi: 10.4161/rna.6.4.9241. Epub 2009 Sep 9.


Ribonuclease P (RNase P) is a ribonucleoprotein comprised of a catalytic RNA subunit and one or several protein subunits. RNase P is best known for its role in 5'-processing of tRNA precursors. RNase P enzymes from almost all forms of life, including protein-synthesizing organelles, contain an RNase P with a conserved, homologous RNA. Five distinct structure classes of RNase P RNAs have been identified in bacteria and archaea; eukaryotic RNase P RNAs are not yet sufficiently well surveyed for structure classes to be defined. Here we will examine the structure variations in RNase P RNAs in bacteria, archaea, eukaryotes, plastids and mitochondria with special emphasis on the functional roles these unique secondary structures perform.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Archaea / enzymology
  • Bacteria / enzymology
  • Base Sequence
  • Eukaryota / enzymology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • RNA, Bacterial / chemistry
  • RNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Ribonuclease P / genetics
  • Ribonuclease P / metabolism*


  • RNA, Bacterial
  • Ribonuclease P