A study from the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) has published a study in the journal Nature Catalysis that describes the reaction mechanism used by the DNAzyme 9DB1, the first structurally available catalyser formed by DNA.
Until recently, it was widely assumed that DNA served to store genetic information in a stable and irreversible manner.
However, in the last ten years, the discovery of the epigenetic code and the finding that nucleic acids can also catalyse certain reactions have changed this vision.
The team headed by Modesto Orozco, head of the Molecular Modelling and Bioinformatics Lab at IRB Barcelona, found that this DNAzyme catalyses RNA ligation through a similar mechanism to that used by natural enzymes.
Indeed, given that DNAzymes can carry out a variety of reactions on messenger RNA and can trigger the silencing of genes, they are being developed for diagnostic and biomedical applications.
"The role of DNAzymes as catalysers is of great interest since they are easier to synthesise than proteins and RNA molecules, as well as being more stable and less expensive.