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An Allosteric Self-Splicing Ribozyme Triggered by a Bacterial Second Messenger

Science  13 Aug 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5993, pp. 845-848
DOI: 10.1126/science.1190713

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Abstract

Group I self-splicing ribozymes commonly function as components of selfish mobile genetic elements. We identified an allosteric group I ribozyme, wherein self-splicing is regulated by a distinct riboswitch class that senses the bacterial second messenger c-di-GMP. The tandem RNA sensory system resides in the 5′ untranslated region of the messenger RNA for a putative virulence gene in the pathogenic bacterium Clostridium difficile. c-di-GMP binding by the riboswitch induces folding changes at atypical splice site junctions to modulate alternative RNA processing. Our findings indicate that some self-splicing ribozymes are not selfish elements but are harnessed by cells as metabolite sensors and genetic regulators.

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