The new paper describes the complex interactions of two small RNA molecules and two larger RNA molecules that together influence the function of a self-splicing
ribozyme, a structure many biologists had believed had no role other than to reproduce itself.
The presence of transposable, self-splicing group II introns in the genomes of the invading bacterium posed problems for the host organism, since its genome was soon colonized and overrun by transposons whose excision was rather slow.
Spliceosome-excised introns are widely viewed as having evolved from self-splicing group II introns.
Geron Corporation (Menlo Park, CA) and University of Rochester (Rochester, NY) have patented a method of inhibiting the self-splicing
of a Group I intron.
The European Patent Office did, however, clarify the scope of the claims to cover self-splicing
intervening sequence derived ribozymes, which does not significantly narrow the scope of coverage.
EP-0291533 in having the claims limited to ribozymes derived from wildtype self-splicing
intervening sequences (IVS).