Bacterial group II introns: not just splicing

Authors

  • Nicolás Toro,

    1. Grupo de Ecología Genética de la Rizosfera, Estación Experimental del Zaidín, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Granada, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • José Ignacio Jiménez-Zurdo,

    1. Grupo de Ecología Genética de la Rizosfera, Estación Experimental del Zaidín, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Granada, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Fernando Manuel García-Rodríguez

    1. Grupo de Ecología Genética de la Rizosfera, Estación Experimental del Zaidín, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Granada, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Editor: Rafael Giraldo

Correspondence: Nicolás Toro, Grupo de Ecología Genética de la Rizosfera, Estación Experimental del Zaidín, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Profesor Albareda 1, 18008 Granada, Spain. Tel.: +34 958181600; fax: +34 958129600; e-mail: ntoro@eez.csic.es

Abstract

Group II introns are both catalytic RNAs (ribozymes) and mobile retroelements that were discovered almost 14 years ago. It has been suggested that eukaryotic mRNA introns might have originated from the group II introns present in the alphaproteobacterial progenitor of the mitochondria. Bacterial group II introns are of considerable interest not only because of their evolutionary significance, but also because they could potentially be used as tools for genetic manipulation in biotechnology and for gene therapy. This review summarizes what is known about the splicing mechanisms and mobility of bacterial group II introns, and describes the recent development of group II intron-based gene-targetting methods. Bacterial group II intron diversity, evolutionary relationships, and behaviour in bacteria are also discussed.

Ancillary