RNA-catalyzed CoA, NAD, and FAD synthesis from phosphopantetheine, NMN, and FMN

Faqing Huang, University of Southern Mississippi
CW Bugg
M Yarus


A novel in vitro selection method was developed to isolate RNA sequences with coenzyme-synthesizing activities. We used size-heterogeneous libraries containing randomized ribonucleotide sequences of four different lengths (30N, 60N, 100N, and 140N), all with 5'-ATP initiation. Two RNAs, CoES7 (30N) and CoES21 (60N), are able to catalyze the synthesis of three common coenzymes, CoA, NAD, and FAD, from their precursors, 4'-phosphopantetheine, NMN, and FMN, respectively. Both ribozymes require divalent manganese for activities. The results support the availability of these coenzymes in an RNA world, and point to a. chemical explanation for the complex bipartite structures of many coenzymes.