IGEM:Melbourne/2008/BCRiboswitch/What are riboswitches?
Some basics of riboswitches
- Can be used to control gene expression by modulating transcription, translation or mRNA processing.
- 5’ leader region of nascent RNA transcript acts as a switch that is able to exist in 2 conformations.
- Switching between conformations is brought about by interaction with a specific cellular metabolite (including a piece of RNA).
- When gene expression is inhibited, the riboswitch is said to be in a ‘locked’ state and either the presence or absence of the specific metabolite (depending on the type of riboswitch) is the ‘key’ to unlock the gene’s activity.
- Several natural riboswitches have been discovered in prokaryotes (especially in pathways of biosynthesis of vitamins and nucleotides).
-They can also be constructed artificially.
The particular type of riboswitch used in the Bioclock is explained under Riboswitch used in Bioclock