Sensing small molecules by nascent RNA: A mechanism to control transcription in bacteria

Alexander S. Mironov, Ivan Gusarov, Ruslan Rafikov, Lubov Errais Lopez, Konstantin Shatalin, Rimma A. Kreneva, Daniel A. Perumov, Evgeny Nudler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

566 Scopus citations


Thiamin and riboflavin are precursors of essential coenzymes - thiamin pyrophosphate (TPP) and flavin mononucleotide (FMN)/flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), respectively. In Bacillus spp, genes responsible for thiamin and riboflavin biosynthesis are organized in tightly controllable operons. Here, we demonstrate that the feedback regulation of riboflavin and thiamin genes relies on a novel transcription attenuation mechanism. A unique feature of this mechanism is the formation of specific complexes between a conserved leader region of the cognate RNA and FMN or TPP. In each case, the complex allows the termination hairpin to form and interrupt transcription prematurely. Thus, sensing small molecules by nascent RNA controls transcription elongation of riboflavin and thiamin operons and possibly other bacterial operons as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)747-756
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 27 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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