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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2013 Feb;11(2):75-82. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2934. Epub 2012 Dec 24.

The excludon: a new concept in bacterial antisense RNA-mediated gene regulation.

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Unité des Interactions Bactéries-Cellules, Institut National de Santé et de Recherche Médicale (INSERM) U604, Institut Pasteur, and Institut Scientifique de Recherche Agronomique USC2020, Institut Pasteur, Paris F-75015, France.


In recent years, non-coding RNAs have emerged as key regulators of gene expression. Among these RNAs, the antisense RNAs (asRNAs) are particularly abundant, but in most cases the function and mechanism of action for a particular asRNA remains elusive. Here, we highlight a recently discovered paradigm termed the excludon, which defines a genomic locus encoding an unusually long asRNA that spans divergent genes or operons with related or opposing functions. Because these asRNAs can inhibit the expression of one operon while functioning as an mRNA for the adjacent operon, they act as fine-tuning regulatory switches in bacteria.

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