Team:IBB Pune/nucleic-acid-based-signalling



A riboswitch is a part of an mRNA molecule that can directly bind a small target molecule, and whose binding of the target affects the gene's activity. Thus, an mRNA that contains a riboswitch is directly involved in regulating its own activity, depending on the presence or absence of its target molecule.

They are metabolite-binding domains within certain messenger RNAs that act as precision sensors for their corresponding targets. Allosteric rearrangement of mRNA structure is mediated by ligand binding, and this results in modulation of gene expression.


The idea

Similar to the concept of protein-based signalling, we propose a nucleic acid based signaling system based on riboswitches. This system will consist of different strains that encode riboswitches and they will interact by means of exported riboswitches.

The Riboswitches will have a an export tag fused to it at the 5' end of the switch. These switches will be placed under regulatable promoters like the pLuxR (responsive to LuxR and AHL), pLL(responsive to ogr), or pLac( responsive to lactose/IPTG)

A second strain will then take this secreted riboswitch up and thus regulate the activity of the genes present within the control of this riboswitch. Thus this can lead to a signaling cascade and efficient cell-cell communication.

Why riboswitches?

This system involves the use of riboswitches which are small RNA molecules. The energy required for a cell to produce a riboswitch is far lesser than that required to produce a protein. Also, since this approach works at the mRNA level, it eliminates the need to use protein responsive promoters like pLL. Thus we can regulate the expression level of any gene within a cell using such a system.

How do we plan to implement this plan

Find out