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Annu Rev Microbiol. 2005;59:487-517.

Regulation of bacterial gene expression by riboswitches.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75390, USA.


Riboswitches are structured domains that usually reside in the noncoding regions of mRNAs, where they bind metabolites and control gene expression. Like their protein counterparts, these RNA gene control elements form highly specific binding pockets for the target metabolite and undergo allosteric changes in structure. Numerous classes of riboswitches are present in bacteria and they comprise a common and robust metabolite-sensing system.

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