RNA switches regulate initiation of translation in bacteria

Biological Chemistry
Stefano MarziThomas Geissmann

Abstract

A large variety of RNA-based mechanisms have been uncovered in all living organisms to regulate gene expression in response to internal and external changes, and to rapidly adapt cell growth in response to these signals. In bacteria, structural elements in the 5' leader regions of mRNAs have direct effects on translation initiation of the downstream coding sequences. The docking and unfolding of these mRNAs on the 30S subunit are critical steps in the initiation process directly modulating and timing translation. Structural elements can also undergo conformational changes in response to environmental cues (i.e., temperature sensors) or upon binding of a variety of trans-acting factors, such as metabolites, non-coding RNAs or regulatory proteins. These RNA switches can temporally regulate translation, leading either to repression or to activation of protein synthesis.

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Related Concepts

Switch Complexes
Peptide Chain Initiation, Translational
Ribosomes
RNA, Bacterial
Poly(A) Tail
Protein Biosynthesis
Cell Growth
Environment
Introns
RNA

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