Catalytic and regulatory RNA and the origins of the DNA world

Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2008
End date: 31/12/2010
Funding: 2400000 SEK


Specific goals are to understand molecular mechanisms for the evolution of DNA as genetic material and to study contemporary mechanisms that reflect how the universal central dogma and the DNA world might have evolved. Model systems are self-splicing introns (autocatalytic RNA) and self-splicing inteins (autocatalytic protein) with cognate homing endonucleases, as well as the universal family of ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) enzymes that direct de novo synthesis of DNA precursors. With these tools we map inheritance and physiological role of these self-splicing intervening sequences and homing endonucleases in bacteria, prophages and phages. Biochemical and genomic data on RNRs (currently over 2500 entries) have been integrated in the publicly available RiboNucleotide Reductase database – RNRdb ( that has ca. 500 visits per month from the RNR community. The database identifies several RNR subgroups to be characterized by us biochemically and genetically for a better understanding of the evolution of the RNRs. We have also noted a few unicellular eukaryotes with both a typical eukaryotic RNR and additional bacterial-like RNR(s) that conceivably have been horizontally transferred recently. We will study their functional importance in these organisms. The project integrates molecular biology, functional genomics, biochemistry and bioinformatics. This project is related to research on biodiversity.

Last updated on 2017-31-03 at 12:57