In vitro selection has allowed the isolation of many new ribozymes that are able to catalyze an ever-widening array of chemical transformations. Mechanistic studies on these selected ribozymes have provided valuable insight into the methods that RNA can invoke to overcome different catalytic tasks. We focus on the methods employed in these mechanistic studies using the acyl-transferase family of selected ribozymes as well-studied reference systems. Chemical and biochemical techniques have been used in tandem in order to draw conclusions on the various modes of catalysis employed by the different family members. In turn, this type of mechanistic information may provide a means for the redesign and optimization of existing ribozymes or the basis for new selection systems for more powerful RNA catalysts.
Hodgson, D., & Suga, H. (2004). Mechanistic studies on acyl-transferase ribozymes and beyond. Biopolymers, 73(1), 130-150. https://doi.org/10.1002/bip.10518