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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A protein encoded by a group I intron in Aspergillus nidulans directly assists RNA splicing and is a DNA endonuclease.

Some group I introns self-splice in vitro, but almost all are thought to be assisted by proteins in vivo. Mutational analysis has shown that the splicing of certain group I introns depends upon a maturase protein encoded by the intron itself. However the effect of a protein on splicing can be indirect. We now provide evidence that a mitochondrial intron-encoded protein from Aspergillus nidulans directly facilitates splicing in vitro. This demonstrates that a maturase is an RNA splicing protein. The protein-assisted reaction is as fast as that of any other known group I intron. Interestingly the protein is also a DNA endonuclease, an activity required for intron mobilization. Mobile elements frequently encode proteins that promote their propagation. Intron-encoded proteins that also assist RNA splicing would facilitate both the transposition and horizontal transmission of introns.[1]


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