Applications of high-throughput sequencing to analyze and engineer ribozymes

Methods. 2019 May 15;161:41-45. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2019.02.001. Epub 2019 Feb 6.


A large number of catalytic RNAs, or ribozymes, have been identified in the genomes of various organisms and viruses. Ribozymes are involved in biological processes such as regulation of gene expression and viral replication, but biological roles of many ribozymes still remain unknown. Ribozymes have also inspired researchers to engineer synthetic ribozymes that function as sensors or gene switches. To gain deeper understanding of the sequence-function relationship of ribozymes and to efficiently engineer synthetic ribozymes, a large number of ribozyme variants need to be examined which was limited to hundreds of sequences by Sanger sequencing. The advent of high-throughput sequencing technologies, however, has allowed us to sequence millions of ribozyme sequences at low cost. This review focuses on the recent applications of high-throughput sequencing to both characterize and engineer ribozymes, to highlight how the large-scale sequence data can advance ribozyme research and engineering.

Keywords: Aptazyme; Fitness landscape; High-throughput sequencing; Ribozyme.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • Genetic Engineering / trends
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / methods*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / trends
  • Humans
  • Mutation / physiology
  • RNA, Catalytic / biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Catalytic / genetics*


  • RNA, Catalytic