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Zeitschrift für Naturforschung C

A Journal of Biosciences

Editor-in-Chief: Seibel, Jürgen

Editorial Board: Aigner , Achim / Boland, Wilhelm / Bornscheuer, Uwe / Hoffmann, Klaus

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Volume 54, Issue 7-8


Non-Enzymatic RNA Hydrolysis Promoted by the Combined Catalytic Activity of Buffers and Magnesium Ions

Mounir G. AbouHaidar
  • Department of Botany, Virology Group, University of Toronto, 25 Willcocks Street, Toronto, Ontario. Canada M5S 3B2
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/ Ivan G. Ivanov
  • Corresponding author
  • Institute of Molecular Biology, Department of Genetic Engineering, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria
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Published Online: 2014-06-02 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/znc-1999-7-813


Although Mg2+ is an important cofactor for the specific degradation of RNA by ribozymes, it is not considered as a typical chemical nuclease. In this study we show that in combination with common buffers such as tris(hydroxymethyl)aminomethane and sodium borate. Mg2+ is a powerful catalyst for the degradation of RNA. pH and temperature are found to be the principal factors for the efficient degradation of RNA. Whereas in Tris-HCl/Mg2+ the effi­cient cleavage starts at pH values higher than 7.5 and temperatures higher than 37 °C, in sodium borate RNA degradation begins at pH 7.0 and at 37 °C. RNA hydrolysis promoted under the combined catalytic activity of buffer/Mg2+ results in partially degraded RNA and negligible amounts of acid-soluble material. Reaction is insensitive to the concentration of monovalent cations but is completely prevented by chelating agents (EDTA and citrate) at concentrations exceeding that of Mg2+. Borate-magnesium reaction is inhibited also by some polyvalent alcohols (glycerol) and sugars.

About the article

Received: 1999-01-20

Revised: 1999-03-23

Published Online: 2014-06-02

Published in Print: 1999-08-01

Citation Information: Zeitschrift für Naturforschung C, Volume 54, Issue 7-8, Pages 542–548, ISSN (Online) 1865-7125, ISSN (Print) 0939-5075, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/znc-1999-7-813.

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© 1946 – 2014: Verlag der Zeitschrift für Naturforschung. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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