RNase P catalyzes 5'-maturation of tRNAs in all three domains of life. This primary function is accomplished by either a ribozyme-centered ribonucleoprotein (RNP) or a protein-only variant (with one to three polypeptides). The large, multicomponent archaeal and eukaryotic RNase P RNPs appear disproportionate to the simplicity of their role in tRNA 5'-maturation, prompting the question of why the seemingly gratuitously complex RNP forms of RNase P were not replaced with simpler protein counterparts. Here, motivated by growing evidence, we consider the hypothesis that the large RNase P RNP was retained as a direct consequence of multiple roles played by its components in processes that are not related to the canonical RNase P function.
Keywords: RNase MRP; RNase P; evolution; ribonucleoprotein.
© 2018 Gopalan et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press for the RNA Society.