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The structural molecular biology of ribozymes took another great leap forward during the past two years. Before ribozymes were discovered in the early 1980s, all enzymes were thought to be proteins. No detailed structural information on ribozymes became available until 1994. Now, within the past two years, near atomic resolution crystal structures are available for almost all of the known ribozymes. The latest additions include ribonuclease P, group I intron structures, the ribosome (the peptidyl transferase appears to be a ribozyme) and several smaller ribozymes, including a Diels-Alderase, the glmS ribozyme and a new hammerhead ribozyme structure that reconciles 12 years of discord. Although not all ribozymes are metalloenzymes, acid-base catalysis appears to be a universal property shared by all ribozymes as well as many of their protein cousins.

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