Regulation of bacterial gene expression by riboswitches

Annu Rev Microbiol. 2005;59:487-517. doi: 10.1146/annurev.micro.59.030804.121336.


Riboswitches are structured domains that usually reside in the noncoding regions of mRNAs, where they bind metabolites and control gene expression. Like their protein counterparts, these RNA gene control elements form highly specific binding pockets for the target metabolite and undergo allosteric changes in structure. Numerous classes of riboswitches are present in bacteria and they comprise a common and robust metabolite-sensing system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Base Sequence
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • RNA, Catalytic
  • RNA, Messenger / chemistry
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • RNA, Catalytic
  • RNA, Messenger