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Arch Microbiol. 2005 Mar;183(3):151-9. Epub 2005 Mar 5.

Metabolic monitoring by bacterial mRNAs.

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  • Department of Biochemistry, Room L1.404 , University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, TX 75390-9038, USA. wade.winkler@utsouthwestern.edu


There is growing appreciation for diversity in the strategies that bacteria utilize in regulating gene expression. Bacteria must be able to respond in different ways to different stresses and thus require unique regulatory solutions for the physiological challenges they encounter. Recent data indicate that bacteria commonly employ a variety of posttranscriptional regulatory mechanisms to coordinate expression of their genes. In many instances, RNA structures embedded at the 5' ends of mRNAs are utilized to sense particular metabolic cues and regulate the encoded genes. These RNA elements are likely to range in structural sophistication, from short sequences recognized by RNA-binding proteins to complex shapes that fold into high-affinity receptors for small organic molecules. Enough examples of RNA-mediated genetic strategies have been found that it is becoming useful to view this overall mode of regulatory control at a genomic level. Eventually, a complete picture of bacterial gene regulation within a single bacterium, from control at transcription initiation to control of mRNA stability, will emerge. But for now, this article seeks to provide a brief overview of the known categories of RNA-mediated genetic mechanisms within the bacterium Bacillus subtilis, with the expectation that it is representative of bacteria as a whole.

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