A decade of riboswitches

Cell. 2013 Jan 17;152(1-2):17-24. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.12.024.


Riboswitches were discovered in 2002 in bacteria as RNA-based intracellular sensors of vitamin derivatives. During the last decade, naturally occurring RNA sensor elements have been found to bind a range of small metabolites and ions and to exert regulatory control of transcription, translation, splicing, and RNA stability. Extensive biochemical, structural, and genetic studies have established the basic principles underpinning riboswitch function in all three kingdoms of life with implications for developing antibiotics, designing new molecular sensors, and integrating riboswitches into synthetic circuits.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • RNA / chemistry
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA / metabolism
  • Riboswitch*


  • Riboswitch
  • RNA