Editors' ChoiceCell Signaling

Nailing a Riboswitch

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Sci. Signal.  22 Jul 2008:
Vol. 1, Issue 29, pp. ec267
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.129ec267

In bacteria, the second messenger cyclic di-guanosine monophosphate (di-GMP) regulates a wide range of genes and affects diverse physiological (and disease-causing) processes. It has been suggested that cyclic di-GMP may modulate transcription and translation via specific cyclic di-GMP riboswitches. Sudarsan et al. now show that this is indeed so and that cyclic di-GMP, and not its closely related breakdown products, binds to the highly conserved GEMM RNA domain, which is found upstream of both cyclic di-GMP synthesis and degradation enzymes, as well as likely target genes. The GEMM RNA constitutes the aptamer domain of the cyclic di-GMP riboswitch. The riboswitch is also found in bacteriophages, which suggests that viruses monitor and respond to the cyclic di-GMP-driven physiological transformations of their hosts.

N. Sudarsan, E. R. Lee, Z. Weinberg, R. H. Moy, J. N. Kim, K. H. Link, R. R. Breaker, Riboswitches in eubacteria sense the second messenger cyclic di-GMP. Science 321, 411-413 (2008). [Abstract] [Full Text]