Research Projects (Third party funds)

SPP 1258

Sensory and regulatory RNAs in Prokaryotes

One of the most fascinating discoveries in recent biology has been the regulatory potential of regulatory RNAs. Recent estimates suggest that a typical microbial genome may encode hundreds of small regulatory RNAs. Such sRNAs are generally untranslated, and most often range from 50 to 250 nucleotides in length. Where characterised in detail, some sRNAs were found to regulate target genes by binding to (regulatory) proteins, whilst most of them turned out as antisense RNAs that act on trans-encoded mRNAs. Most bacterial mRNAs contain a 5'-untranslated region (5'-UTR) with more than the Shine-Dalgarno (SD) sequence required for interaction with the 30S ribosomal particle. Such extended 5'-UTRs can fold into complex structures with regulatory properties. RNA thermometers, for example, acquire a structure that blocks translation at low temperatures. Riboswitches control gene expression by ligand-induced conformational changes that control transcription termination, translation initiation or RNA processing. The goal of the Priority Programme is to bring together scientists to explore the regulatory potential of RNA in diverse prokaryotic systems. That is apart from the standard model bacteriaEscherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis, several other microbes including cyanobacteria, Rhizobiaceae, several pathogens and halophilic as well as methanogenic Archaea will be studied.



Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft




Professor Dr. Franz Narberhaus (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)


Professor Dr. Franz Narberhaus (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

Funding agency

DFG - German Research Foundation

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