The excludon: a new concept in bacterial antisense RNA-mediated gene regulation

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2013 Feb;11(2):75-82. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2934. Epub 2012 Dec 24.


In recent years, non-coding RNAs have emerged as key regulators of gene expression. Among these RNAs, the antisense RNAs (asRNAs) are particularly abundant, but in most cases the function and mechanism of action for a particular asRNA remains elusive. Here, we highlight a recently discovered paradigm termed the excludon, which defines a genomic locus encoding an unusually long asRNA that spans divergent genes or operons with related or opposing functions. Because these asRNAs can inhibit the expression of one operon while functioning as an mRNA for the adjacent operon, they act as fine-tuning regulatory switches in bacteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / physiology*
  • Genome, Bacterial
  • Operon
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • RNA, Antisense / genetics*
  • RNA, Antisense / metabolism
  • RNA, Bacterial / genetics*
  • RNA, Bacterial / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Transcriptome


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • RNA, Antisense
  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Trans-Activators