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The discovery that RNA could act as a macromolecular catalyst in the cell, signified a paradigm shift in molecular biology. Ribozymes and RNA Catalysis takes the reader through the origins of catalysis in RNA and necessarily includes significant discussion of structure and folding. The main focus of the book concerns chemical mechanism with extensive comment on how, despite the importance of RNA catalysis in the cell, its origins are still poorly understood and often controversial.
The reader is given an outline of the important role of RNA catalysis in many aspects of cell function, including RNA processing and translation. There has been a significant coming together in the field of RNA in recent years and this book offers a compelling review of the whole field to date.
Ribozymes and RNA Catalysis
David M. Lilly and Fritz Eckstein (Eds.)
Cambridge, UK: The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2007, 318 pp. ISBN (print) 978-0-85404-253-1
Reviewed by Mike Harris
I recall as a graduate student being excited reading the first papers describing the discovery of RNA catalysis as well as the commentary on the enzymological and evolutional implications that followed. I feel a bit sorry for students in my laboratory who share a fascination with ribozymes, but for whom RNA catalysis is a fact learned in undergraduate biochemistry class. This book, however, through a series of expert reviews, explores the forefront of ribozyme research while evoking the excitement of those early discoveries. One reason for this attribute is that this is an update of a volume edited by Drs. Eckstein and Lilley 10 years ago, and their scholarly perspective on how the field has grown and developed is reflected in the choice of themes and the spirit of the volume. The fore