Now on display: a gallery of group II intron structures at different stages of catalysis
1 Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
2 Department of Chemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
3 Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, MD 20815, USA
Mobile DNA 2013, 4:14 doi:10.1186/1759-8753-4-14Published: 1 May 2013
Group II introns are mobile genetic elements that self-splice and retrotranspose into DNA and RNA. They are considered evolutionary ancestors of the spliceosome, the ribonucleoprotein complex essential for pre-mRNA processing in higher eukaryotes. Over a 20-year period, group II introns have been characterized first genetically, then biochemically, and finally by means of X-ray crystallography. To date, 17 crystal structures of a group II intron are available, representing five different stages of the splicing cycle. This review provides a framework for classifying and understanding these new structures in the context of the splicing cycle. Structural and functional implications for the spliceosome are also discussed.