IGEM:Melbourne/2008/BCRiboswitch/What are riboswitches?

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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


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