RIBONUCLEASE P: Unity and Diversity in a tRNA Processing Ribozyme Journal Article uri icon



  • Ribonuclease P (RNase P) is the endoribonuclease that generates the mature 5′-ends of tRNA by removal of the 5′-leader elements of precursor-tRNAs. This enzyme has been characterized from representatives of all three domains of life (Archaea, Bacteria, and Eucarya) ( 1 ) as well as from mitochondria and chloroplasts. The cellular and mitochondrial RNase Ps are ribonucleoproteins, whereas the most extensively studied chloroplast RNase P (from spinach) is composed solely of protein. Remarkably, the RNA subunit of bacterial RNase P is catalytically active in vitro in the absence of the protein subunit ( 2 ). Although RNA-only activity has not been demonstrated for the archaeal, eucaryal, or mitochondrial RNAs, comparative sequence analysis has established that these RNAs are homologous (of common ancestry) to bacterial RNA. RNase P holoenzymes vary greatly in organizational complexity across the phylogenetic domains, primarily because of differences in the RNase P protein subunits: Mitochondrial, archaeal, and eucaryal holoenzymes contain larger, and perhaps more numerous, protein subunits than do the bacterial holoenzymes. However, that the nonbacterial RNase P RNAs retain significant structural similarity to their catalytically active bacterial counterparts indicates that the RNA remains the catalytic center of the enzyme.

publication date

  • June 1, 1998

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • May 10, 2014 10:17 AM

Full Author List

  • Frank DN; Pace NR

author count

  • 2

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0066-4154

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1545-4509

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 153

end page

  • 180


  • 67


  • 1