Sci. Signal., 17 August 2010
Molecular Biology Riboswitch Revealed
Science, AAAS, Washington, DC 20005, USA
Short regulatory regions—riboswitches—are found in the messenger RNAs of many bacteria, plants, and fungi. They bind to small-molecule metabolites and, through switching between alternate RNA secondary structures, regulate the expression of the linked RNA. Lee et al. have identified a c-di-GMP (cyclic di-guanosyl-5'-monophosphate)–binding riboswitch in the bacterium Clostridium difficile that regulates the splicing of a group I self-splicing ribozyme. Binding of c-di-GMP to the riboswitch favors a conformation of the ribozyme that promotes splicing in the presence of guanosine triphosphate (as is typical for this class of ribozymes). Concomitantly, splicing promotes the formation of a ribosome binding site, thereby stimulating protein production from the downstream pathogenesis-related gene. This regulatory region may thus constitute a two-input gene-control system that reads the concentration of both GTP and c-di-GMP. Thus, not all group I self-splicing ribozymes represent selfish genetic elements.
Citation: G. Riddihough, Riboswitch Revealed. Sci. Signal. 3, ec252 (2010).
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