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Biological Chemistry

Editor-in-Chief: Brüne, Bernhard

Editorial Board: Buchner, Johannes / Lei, Ming / Ludwig, Stephan / Thomas, Douglas D. / Turk, Boris / Wittinghofer, Alfred

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 3.014
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 3.162

CiteScore 2018: 3.09

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 1.482
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.820

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Volume 388, Issue 7


Expression of protein-coding genes embedded in ribosomal DNA

Steinar D. Johansen
  • 1Department of Molecular Biotechnology, Institute of Medical Biology, University of Tromsø, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway
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/ Peik Haugen
  • 2Department of Molecular Biotechnology, Institute of Medical Biology, University of Tromsø, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway
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/ Henrik Nielsen
  • 3Department of Molecular Biotechnology, Institute of Medical Biology, University of Tromsø, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway and Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, The Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, DK-2200N Copenhagen, Denmark
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Published Online: 2007-07-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/BC.2007.089


Ribosomal DNA (rDNA) is a specialised chromosomal location that is dedicated to high-level transcription of ribosomal RNA genes. Interestingly, rDNAs are frequently interrupted by parasitic elements, some of which carry protein genes. These are non-LTR retrotransposons and group II introns that encode reverse transcriptase-like genes, and group I introns and archaeal introns that encode homing endonuclease genes (HEGs). Although rDNA-embedded protein genes are widespread in nuclei, organelles and bacteria, there is surprisingly little information available on how these genes are expressed. Exceptions include a handful of HEGs from group I introns. Recent studies have revealed unusual and essential roles of group I and group I-like ribozymes in the endogenous expression of HEGs. Here we discuss general aspects of rDNA-embedded protein genes and focus on HEG expression from group I introns in the nucleolus.

Keywords: group I intron; homing endonuclease gene; ribosomal DNA; ribozyme; RNA processing

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Corresponding author

Published Online: 2007-07-01

Citation Information: Biological Chemistry, Volume 388, Issue 7, Pages 679–686, ISSN (Online) 14316730, ISSN (Print) 14374315, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/BC.2007.089.

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