Aptamers in RNA-based switches of gene expression

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2020 Jun;63:34-40. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2019.11.008. Epub 2019 Dec 5.


The ability to control gene expression via small molecule effectors is important in basic research as well as in future gene therapy applications. Although transcription factor-based systems are widely used, they are not well suited for certain applications due to a lack of functionality, limited available coding space, and potential immunogenicity of the regulatory proteins. RNA-based switches fill this gap since they can be designed to respond to effector compounds utilizing ligand-sensing aptamers. These systems are very modular since the aptamer can be combined with a variety of different expression platforms. RNA-based switches have been constructed that allow for controlling gene expression in diverse contexts. Here we discuss latest developments and applications of aptamer-based gene expression switches in eukaryotes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aptamers, Nucleotide*
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Ligands
  • RNA* / genetics


  • Aptamers, Nucleotide
  • Ligands
  • RNA