the header already says:

Are there any ribozymes known that cut double strands? A kind of ribozyme equivalent to the Ribonuclease III.

With cut, I mean that the backbone of both strands, forming the double strand, is opened/broken.

Reaction: one double strand -> two double strands

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Please tell us what research you have done to try to answer this question yourself, and what you have found. Also use standard English if you can: “really cut like” doesn’t cut it, and I find it difficult to see how one can cut something that is already broken. It would be more useful if you specified whether you are referring to RNA or DNA. Context would do no harm either. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Feb 23, 2021 at 20:31
  • $\begingroup$ I tried to clarify the answer according to your suggestion. I do not mind if it is RNA or DNA that becomes cut, that is why I did not mention it. $\endgroup$
    – newandlost
    Feb 23, 2021 at 22:12
  • $\begingroup$ I think you need to read about ribozymes a little before formulating questions. As they are thought to be relics of an RNA world they are not going to cleave DNA. As dsRNA is not central to modern organisms, even if it had been in early life, it would be unlikely to have survived. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Feb 23, 2021 at 22:15
  • $\begingroup$ Could you be more specific? And if the answer is obviously "no", then would you be so kind and answer the question and explain why it is not possible? I still do not understand your question regarding specifying if it is DNA or RNA that becomes cut, as e.g. hammerhead ribozymes cleave or ligate both DNA and RNA. $\endgroup$
    – newandlost
    Feb 23, 2021 at 22:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The first reference you cited was a book chapter on protein synthesis in which there are 28 references to the ribozyme nature of peptidyl transferase. Please make sure you give correct references before wasting people’s time. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Feb 23, 2021 at 22:46

1 Answer 1


Ribozyms are generally known to have a potential to introduce strand breaks. However, it's indeed a good question whether those may include double strands!

Unfortunately I don't know the answer as it's generally difficult to prove non-existance, but in this paper, they go as far as to imply that translation needed to evolve due to the lack of helicase activity of ribozymes.

In additional literature for helicase activities (which is generally associated with introduction of double-strand breaks), all ribozymes with helicase activity seem to be attached to proteins to be functional. So maybe it's indeed possible, that there are no ribozymes that cut double-strands.

  • $\begingroup$ It is well documented that they make single strand breaks, usually on themselves. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Feb 23, 2021 at 22:54
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, on themselves on homologius sequences. By the way, I felt the premise of the question was that it's impossible for rybozymes to introduce double-strand breaks. $\endgroup$
    – KaPy3141
    Feb 24, 2021 at 7:52

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .