Mobile group II introns.

Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Section of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of Texas at Austin, Texas 78712, USA.
Annual Review of Genetics (Impact Factor: 18.12). 02/2004; 38:1-35. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.genet.38.072902.091600
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mobile group II introns, found in bacterial and organellar genomes, are both catalytic RNAs and retrotransposable elements. They use an extraordinary mobility mechanism in which the excised intron RNA reverse splices directly into a DNA target site and is then reverse transcribed by the intron-encoded protein. After DNA insertion, the introns remove themselves by protein-assisted, autocatalytic RNA splicing, thereby minimizing host damage. Here we discuss the experimental basis for our current understanding of group II intron mobility mechanisms, beginning with genetic observations in yeast mitochondria, and culminating with a detailed understanding of molecular mechanisms shared by organellar and bacterial group II introns. We also discuss recently discovered links between group II intron mobility and DNA replication, new insights into group II intron evolution arising from bacterial genome sequencing, and the evolutionary relationship between group II introns and both eukaryotic spliceosomal introns and non-LTR-retrotransposons. Finally, we describe the development of mobile group II introns into gene-targeting vectors, "targetrons," which have programmable target specificity.


Available from: Steven Zimmerly, May 28, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Present in the genomes of bacteria and eukaryotic organelles, group II introns are an ancient class of ribozymes and retroelements that are believed to have been the ancestors of nuclear pre-mRNA introns. Despite long-standing speculation, there is limited understanding about the actual pathway by which group II introns evolved into eukaryotic introns. In this review, we focus on the evolution of group II introns themselves. We describe the different forms of group II introns known to exist in nature and then address how these forms may have evolved to give rise to spliceosomal introns and other genetic elements. Finally, we summarize the structural and biochemical parallels between group II introns and the spliceosome, including recent data that strongly support their hypothesized evolutionary relationship.
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