A universally occurring enzyme which, by removing the 5′ ends from precursor tRNA molecules, converts them into their functional states. RNase P is a heterodimer made up of one large RNA and one small protein molecule. The protein alone has no catalytic activity. The RNA alone can catalyze the cleavage, although less efficiently than the intact enzyme. RNase P was the first RNA found to exhibit the characteristics of a true enzyme. See Chronology, 1983, Guerrier-Takada et al.; 1989, Cech and Altmann; ribozyme.
Subjects: Genetics and Genomics.