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Applications of high-throughput sequencing to analyze and engineer ribozymes

Yokobayashi, Yohei
Methods 2019 v.161 pp. 41-45
engineering, gene expression regulation, genes, high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, ribozymes, virus replication, viruses
A large number of catalytic RNAs, or ribozymes, have been identified in the genomes of various organisms and viruses. Ribozymes are involved in biological processes such as regulation of gene expression and viral replication, but biological roles of many ribozymes still remain unknown. Ribozymes have also inspired researchers to engineer synthetic ribozymes that function as sensors or gene switches. To gain deeper understanding of the sequence-function relationship of ribozymes and to efficiently engineer synthetic ribozymes, a large number of ribozyme variants need to be examined which was limited to hundreds of sequences by Sanger sequencing. The advent of high-throughput sequencing technologies, however, has allowed us to sequence millions of ribozyme sequences at low cost. This review focuses on the recent applications of high-throughput sequencing to both characterize and engineer ribozymes, to highlight how the large-scale sequence data can advance ribozyme research and engineering.