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Sci. Signal., 17 August 2010
Vol. 3, Issue 135, p. ec252
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3135ec252]

EDITORS' CHOICE

Molecular Biology Riboswitch Revealed

Guy Riddihough

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.

E. R. Lee, J. L. Baker, Z. Weinberg, N. Sudarsan, R. R. Breaker, An allosteric self-splicing ribozyme triggered by a bacterial second messenger. Science 329, 845–848 (2010). [Abstract] [Full Text]

Citation: G. Riddihough, Riboswitch Revealed. Sci. Signal. 3, ec252 (2010).



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