RNase P is a ubiquitous site-specific endoribonuclease primarily responsible for the maturation of tRNA. Throughout the three domains of life, the canonical form of RNase P is a ribonucleoprotein (RNP) built around a catalytic RNA. The core RNA is well conserved from bacteria to eukaryotes, whereas the protein parts vary significantly. The most complex and the least understood form of RNase P is found in eukaryotes, where multiple essential proteins playing largely unknown roles constitute the bulk of the enzyme. Eukaryotic RNase P was considered intractable to in vitro reconstitution, mostly due to insolubility of its protein components, which hindered its studies. We have developed a robust approach to the in vitro reconstitution of Saccharomyces cerevisiae RNase P RNPs and used it to analyze the interplay and roles of RNase P components. The results eliminate the major obstacle to biochemical and structural studies of eukaryotic RNase P, identify components required for the activation of the catalytic RNA, reveal roles of proteins in the enzyme stability, localize proteins on RNase P RNA, and demonstrate the interdependence of the binding of RNase P protein modules to the core RNA.
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