The GLP is committed to full transparency. Download and review our 2019 Annual Report

Fluoride flipping: Hidden RNA regulator could help create new antibiotics

rna slide e
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

So much of what happens inside cells to preserve health or cause disease is so small or time-sensitive that researchers are just now getting glimpses of the complexities unfolding in us every minute of the day. UNC School of Medicine researchers have discovered one such complexity—a previously hidden mode of RNA regulation vital for bacterial defense against toxic fluoride ions.

Zhang and colleagues studied riboswitches – a class of noncoding RNAs that are not translated from DNA into proteins. Rather, riboswitches control gene expression in response to specific cellular cues.

Zhang’s ability to visualize riboswitches over time allowed his team to reveal the hidden differences in the local motions between the bound and unbound states. Zhang’s team found that over the course of a mere three milliseconds, the riboswitch sits in an excited state. This is when it unravels the linchpin – a rare base pair of molecules formed within the riboswitch – to terminate gene transcription.

Not only could this work have vast implications for the development of antibiotics, but it provides a new design principle for engineering RNA-based biosensors and nano-devices to probe specific gene expressions and key biological processes to help us understand human disease.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: The science of fluoride flipping: A new technique helps researchers study tiny biological processes

Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend