Research at Yale reported in the journal Science identifies a new riboswitch (RNA regulatory sequence) class in bacteria that operates as a rare "ON" switch for genetic regulation of the three proteins in a glycine processing system.
"This seems like something only a biochemist can appreciate, but what it really means is that modern RNA has what it takes to run the complex metabolism of life. It is like what would have been needed in an "RNA World" - or a period in evolution where RNA served a much larger role," said Ronald T. Breaker, professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University.
The latest riboswitch is unique because it is the first RNA switch known to have "cooperative binding" to its target, a process that is common in protein enzymes but not usually associated with RNA. It is also surprising that such complex relics of an RNA World are seen in modern organisms.
Janet Rettig Emanuel | EurekAlert!
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