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New insights into riboswitch regulation mechanisms

Authors

  • Laurène Bastet,

    1. Département de biologie, Faculté des sciences, Groupe ARN/RNA Group, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada, J1K 2R1.
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  • Audrey Dubé,

    1. Département de biologie, Faculté des sciences, Groupe ARN/RNA Group, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada, J1K 2R1.
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  • Eric Massé,

    1. Département de biochimie, Faculté de médecine et des sciences de la santé, Groupe ARN/RNA Group, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada, J1H 5N4.
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  • Daniel A. Lafontaine

    Corresponding author
    1. Département de biologie, Faculté des sciences, Groupe ARN/RNA Group, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada, J1K 2R1.
      E-mail daniel.lafontaine@usherbrooke.ca; Tel. (+1) 819 821 8000, ext 65011; Fax (+1) 819 821 8049.
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E-mail daniel.lafontaine@usherbrooke.ca; Tel. (+1) 819 821 8000, ext 65011; Fax (+1) 819 821 8049.

Summary

Riboswitches are genetic elements located in non-coding regions of some messenger RNAs (mRNAs) that are present in all three domains of life. The binding of ligands to riboswitches induces conformational changes in the mRNA molecule, resulting in modulation of gene transcription, or RNA splicing, translation or stability. This mechanism of regulation is particularly widespread in bacteria and allows a direct response to various metabolic changes. A large number of riboswitches have been discovered in the last few years, suggesting the existence of a huge diversity of regulatory ligands and genetic mechanisms of regulation. This review focuses on recent discoveries in riboswitch regulatory mechanisms as well as current outstanding challenges.

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