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riboswitches

Sunday 6 January 2008

Although various functions of RNA are carried out in conjunction with proteins, some catalytic RNAs, or ribozymes, which contribute to a range of cellular processes, require little or no assistance from proteins.

Furthermore, the discovery of metabolite-sensing riboswitches and other types of RNA sensors has revealed RNA-based mechanisms that cells use to regulate gene expression in response to internal and external changes.

Structural studies have shown how these RNAs can carry out a range of functions. In addition, the contribution of ribozymes and riboswitches to gene expression is being revealed as far more widespread than was previously appreciated.

References

- Serganov A, Patel DJ. Ribozymes, riboswitches and beyond: regulation of gene expression without proteins. Nat Rev Genet. 2007 Oct;8(10):776-90. PMID: 17846637