Researchers Inclined towards Incorporating Riboswitches in Therapeutics Industry

Release Date: 11-Nov-2020

A group of researchers from National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru is focused on developing a novel type of riboswitch in case of bacteria. As per the researchers, the developed riboswitch by them can bind to iron which entirely can show different cellular mechanism of action. The methods that have been used to find the novel riboswitch is bioinformatics and biochemical methods. The novel iron found by the researchers is called as Sensei. The overall responsibility of iron sensing and modulation is now extended to RNAs with the discovery of Sensei RNAs. It has been found that riboswitches have the ability to stop the production of certain proteins with respect to the chemical signal present in the environment.


Another group of researchers have also studied riboswitches that are sensitive to nickel and cobalt. They evaluated that riboswitches were associated with parts of the DNA related iron transporters and enzymes. By feeding iron in two chambers, one containing mRNA that had the Sensei riboswitches and one without. It was concluded that the chamber containing mRNA had sequestered a greater quantity of iron ion. It was found that Sensei riboswitch is closely related to the NiCo riboswitch but the bacteria in which they are found are different.


It was observed from the studies conducted at different research centers across the globe, that riboswitches are acting as holdovers from an early ‘RNA world’ such that RNA becomes the primary carrier of the genetic material. It can also represent the glimpse of different RNA-based organisms’ work. Therefore, as per the researchers in Bangalore, iron-sensing riboswitches function is considered to be very important in exploring the potential drug targets. The researchers working on the respective study will be designing synthetic riboswitches having the capability to respond the chemical signals and further work accordingly for the incorporation of genetic material of the foreign particle.


The researchers are inclined towards creating small, artificial molecules that mimic the chemical signal that the riboswitch senses which could effectively trick the riboswitch into getting activated and thus making it respond by not-allowing the production of the proteins that could develop any sort of antibiotic resistance.  Although much of the work is yet to get done in the respective study, but the future clinical outcome of the study is believed to be changing the entire therapeutics sector.

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