Thursday 22 April 2004
Although various functions of RNA are carried out in conjunction with proteins, some catalytic RNAs, or ribozymes, which contribute to a range of cellular processes, require little or no assistance from proteins.
Furthermore, the discovery of metabolite-sensing riboswitches and other types of RNA sensors has revealed RNA-based mechanisms that cells use to regulate gene expression in response to internal and external changes.
Structural studies have shown how these RNAs can carry out a range of functions. In addition, the contribution of ribozymes and riboswitches to gene expression is being revealed as far more widespread than was previously appreciated.