, Volume 98, Issue 8, pp 3389-3399
Date: 05 Feb 2014

Generation and selection of ribozyme variants with potential application in protein engineering and synthetic biology

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Over the past two decades, RNA catalysis has become a major topic of research. On the one hand, naturally occurring ribozymes have been extensively investigated concerning their structure and functional mechanisms. On the other hand, the knowledge gained from these studies has been used to engineer ribozyme variants with novel properties. In addition to RNA engineering by means of rational design, powerful techniques for selection of ribozymes from large pools of random sequences were developed and have been widely used for the generation of functional nucleic acids. RNA as catalyst has been accompanied by DNA, and nowadays a large number of ribozymes and deoxyribozymes are available. The field of ribozyme generation and selection has been extensively reviewed. With respect to the field of biotechnology, RNA and DNA catalysts working on peptides or proteins, or which are designed to control protein synthesis, are of utmost importance and interest. Therefore, in this review, we will focus on engineered nucleic acid catalysts for peptide synthesis and modification as well as for intracellular control of gene expression.