Inactivation of RNA molecules by sequence-specific endoribonucleolytic cleavage is a subtle mechanism by which cells regulate gene expression. Sequence-specific endoribonucleases can recognize and cleave particular phosphodiester bonds confined within hundreds/thousands of chemically similar bonds. Here, we present a comparative analysis of the mechanisms used by endoribonucleases to select and cleave their target RNA molecules. This analysis is based on the very recent molecular details obtained from the structural and/or biochemical studies of nine sequence-specific ribonucleases that target messenger, ribosomal, and transfer RNA molecules. This analysis shows that despite the absence of sequence homologies and the wide diversity of biological sources (prokaryotes, archaea and eukaryotes), the sequencespecific ribonucleases studied here adopt limited structural folds, catalyze their cleavage reactions using a common chemistry and involve a very limited set of amino acids for both RNA binding and processing.
Keywords: RegB, sequence-specific, ribonucleases, RNA
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