In the course of evolving variants of the Tetrahymena thermophila Group I ribozyme for improved DNA cleavage in vitro, we witnessed the unexpected emergence of a derived molecular species, capable of acting as a partner for the ribozyme, but no longer autocatalytic. This new RNA species exhibits a deletion in the catalytic core and participates in a productive intermolecular interaction with an active ribozyme, thus insuring its survival in the population. These novel RNA molecules have evolved a precise catalytic interaction with the Group I ribozyme and depend for their survival on the continued presence of active catalysts. This interaction hints at the complexity that may inevitably arise even in simple evolving systems.
Catalytic RNA, In vitro selection, Nucleic acids, Self-organization
Hanczyc, Martin M. and Dorit, Robert L., "Experimental Evolution of Complexity: In Vitro Emergence of Intermolecular Ribozyme Interactions" (1998). Biological Sciences: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.