Conserved RNA structures have traditionally been thought of as potential binding sites for protein factors and consequently are regarded as fulfilling relatively passive albeit important roles in cellular processes. With the discovery of riboswitches, RNA no longer takes a backseat to protein when it comes to affecting gene expression. Riboswitches bind directly to cellular metabolites with exceptional specificity and affinity, and exert control over gene expression through ligand-induced conformational changes in RNA structure. Riboswitches now represent a widespread mechanism by which cells monitor their metabolic state and facilely alter gene expression in response to changing conditions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Structural Biology
- Molecular Biology