Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
RNA. 2009 Nov;15(11):2046-56. doi: 10.1261/rna.1824209. Epub 2009 Sep 23.

A variant riboswitch aptamer class for S-adenosylmethionine common in marine bacteria.

Author information

  • 1Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Riboswitches that sense S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) are widely distributed throughout a variety of bacterial lineages. Four classes of SAM-binding riboswitches have been reported to date, constituting the most diverse collection of riboswitch classes that sense the same compound. Three of these classes, termed SAM-I, SAM-II, and SAM-III represent unique structures that form distinct binding pockets for the ligand. SAM-IV riboswitches carry different conserved sequence and structural features compared to other SAM riboswitches, but nucleotides and substructures corresponding to the ligand binding pocket are identical to SAM-I aptamers. In this article, we describe a fifth class of SAM binding aptamer, which we have termed SAM-V. SAM-V was discovered by analyzing GC-rich intergenic regions preceding metabolic genes in the marine alpha-proteobacterium "Candidatus Pelagibacter ubique." Although the motif is nearly unrepresented in cultured bacteria whose genomes have been completely sequenced, SAM-V is prevalent in marine metagenomic sequences. The consensus sequence and structure of SAM-V show some similarities to that of the SAM-II riboswitch, and it is likely that the two aptamers form similar ligand binding pockets. In addition, we identified numerous examples of a tandem SAM-II/SAM-V aptamer architecture. In this arrangement, the SAM-II aptamer is always positioned 5' of the SAM-V aptamer and the SAM-II aptamer is followed by a predicted intrinsic transcription terminator stem. The SAM-V aptamer, however, appears to use a ribosome binding site occlusion mechanism for genetic regulation. This tandem riboswitch arrangement exhibits an architecture that can potentially control both the transcriptional and translational stages of gene expression.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk