Production of Circular Recombinant RNA in Escherichia coli Using Viroid Scaffolds.Methods Mol Biol. 2021; 2323:99-107.MM
Viroids are small circular, noncoding, highly base-paired RNAs able to infect higher plants. Recently, it has been shown that viroids can be used as very stable scaffolds to produce recombinant RNA in Escherichia coli. Coexpression of an RNA precursor consisting of a viroid monomer, in which the RNA of interest is inserted, flanked by domains of the viroid hammerhead ribozyme, along with a host plant tRNA ligase, the enzyme that catalyzes viroid circularization in infected plants, allows for accumulation of large amounts of the chimeric viroid-RNA of interest in E. coli. Since viroids do not replicate in E. coli, high accumulation most probably results from viroid scaffold stability, resistance to exonucleases due to circularity, and accumulation as a ribonucleoprotein complex with tRNA ligase. Purification of the recombinant RNA from total E. coli RNA is also facilitated by the circular structure of the product.