RNA



LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Peptidyl transferase activity catalyzed by protein-free 23S ribosomal RNA remains elusive


PHILIPP  KHAITOVICH a1, TANEL  TENSON a2, ALEXANDER S.  MANKIN a1c1 and RACHEL  GREEN a3c2
a1 Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology—m/c 870, University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois 60607, USA
a2 Estonian Biocenter, Riia 23, Tartu, EE2400, Estonia
a3 Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA

Abstract

In two recent articles by Nitta et al. (1998a, 1998b), evidence was presented that in vitro-transcribed protein-free 23S rRNA of Escherichia coli (and its individual domains) can catalyze peptide bond formation. The implications of these studies are considerable because demonstration of catalytic activity associated with protein-free 23S rRNA would be fundamental to our understanding of the mechanism and evolution of protein synthesis (Noller et al., 1992; Khaitovich et al., 1999).

(Accepted February 12 1999)


Key Words: peptide bond formation; ribosome; RNA catalysis; rRNA.

Correspondence:
c1 Reprint requests to: Dr. Alexander S. Mankin, Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology—m/c 870, University of Illinois, 900 South Ashland Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60607, USA; e-mail: shura@uic.edu.
c2 or reprint requests to: Dr. Rachel Green, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA; email: ragreen@jhmi.edu.