Biological processes take place in living cells and have adapted to environmental conditions such as temperature, salt concentration, and high-density cellular contents. However, our molecular understanding of most biological processes relies on in vitro experiments under nonphysiological, highly diluted, and high-salt conditions. To overcome this, we mimic the cellular environment by introducing crowding agents. To understand how such conditions affect large-ribozyme folding and function, we studied a group IIB intron ribozyme under crowded, low-salt conditions. The data show how crowded environments enhance the activity of such large ribozymes, even in low-salt concentrations. Interestingly, we find that “optimal” crowding yields maximum activity, and we are the first reporting that beyond optimal conditions dense crowding becomes detrimental for ribozymes activity.
Optimal molecular crowding accelerates group II intron folding and maximizes catalysis
Bishnu P. Paudel*, Erica Fiorini*, Richard Börner*, Roland K. O. Sigel+, David S. Rueda+
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Nov 2018, 201806685; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1806685115