PerspectiveRNA

Riboswitch regulates RNA

Science  22 Aug 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6199, pp. 876-877
DOI: 10.1126/science.1258494

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Summary

Bacteria are expert at adapting to various ecological niches, including the human gut, amid multiple other competing organisms. Their success in these many environments means that they have perfected the ability to use what is available, to not waste resources making RNA and protein for unnecessary processes, and to sense and respond when conditions and requirements change. It has become increasingly clear that RNA-based regulation plays an important part in empowering bacteria to respond to environmental changes. On pages 937 and 940 of this issue, DebRoy et al. (1) and Mellin et al. (2), respectively, report a new example of adaptation in which type of RNA-based regulation is controlled by another, allowing the integrated sensing of two different nutrients. The finding points to an unexpected role for riboswitches, RNA binding proteins, and noncoding RNAs in controlling gene expression by joining forces.