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Annu Rev Biochem. 2009;78:305-34. doi: 10.1146/annurev.biochem.78.070507.135656.

The structural and functional diversity of metabolite-binding riboswitches.

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1
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520-8103, USA. adam.roth@yale.edu

Abstract

The cellular concentrations of certain metabolites are assiduously monitored to achieve appropriate levels of gene expression. Although proteins have long been known to act as sensors in this capacity, metabolite-binding RNAs, or riboswitches, also play an important role. More than 20 distinct classes of riboswitches have been identified to date, and insights to the molecular recognition strategies of a significant subset of these have been provided by detailed structural studies. This diverse set of metabolite-sensing RNAs is found to exploit a variety of distinct mechanisms to regulate genes that are fundamental to metabolism.

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