Intron splicing is a fundamental biological process whereby noncoding sequences are removed from precursor RNAs. Recent work has provided new insights into the structural features and reaction mechanisms of two introns that catalyze their own splicing from precursor RNA: the group I and II introns. In addition, there is an increasing amount of structural information on the spliceosome, which is a ribonucleoprotein machine that catalyzes nuclear pre-mRNA splicing in eukaryotes. Here, we compare structures and catalytic mechanisms of self-splicing RNAs and we discuss the possible implications for spliceosomal reaction mechanisms.
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