Ribonuclease P

Sidney Altman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The gene coding for the RNA subunit of ribonuclease P (RNase P) is essential in all free-living organisms. TheRNAsubunit, itself, is an enzyme and, from its evolutionary tree,we can infer that it is a very ancient molecule. The specificity of this enzyme is that it cleaves other RNAmolecules at the junction of single-stranded and the 5' end of double-stranded regions of RNA. One can speculate that this molecule was very useful in an ancient world in cleaving long pieces of RNA, which must have contained hairpin regions in it, into shorter molecules with the capability of different functions from the longer parent. Today, the specificity of the enzyme can be used in designing drug therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2936-2941
Number of pages6
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1580
StatePublished - Oct 27 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Evolution
  • RNA enzyme
  • Substrate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Ribonuclease P'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this