Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Riboswitch development could impact new antibacterial drug development

A team of researchers led by Dr Carlos Penedo of the School of Physics and Astronomy and Professor Daniel Lafontaine, a biologist at the University of Sherbrooke (Canada), has deciphered the folding pathway of a genetic control element essential to the functioning of bacterial cells, a riboswitch. A riboswitch is part of a messenger RNA molecule. It can sense the concentration of chemicals in a cell, and turn gene expressions on or off in response. Because riboswitch structures are mostly found in bacterial organisms, understanding these molecular machines is fundamental to developing new and more resistant antibacterial drugs. The team managed to develop a unifying theory that explains various outcomes of the scientific literature on the mechanisms of genetic regulation by messenger RNA structures. Article in Nature