A mechanism for ligand gated strand displacement in ZTP riboswitch transcription regulation [article]

Eric J Strobel, Luyi Cheng, Katherine E Berman, Paul D Carlson, Julius B Lucks
2019 bioRxiv   pre-print
Cotranscriptional RNA folding forms structural intermediates that can be critically important for RNA biogenesis. This is especially true for transcriptional riboswitches that must undergo ligand-dependent structural changes during transcription to regulate the synthesis of downstream genes. Here, we systematically map the folding states traversed by the Clostridium beijerinckii pfl riboswitch as it controls transcription termination in response to the purine biosynthetic intermediate ZMP. We
more » ... nd that after rearrangement of a non-native hairpin to form the ZTP aptamer, cotranscriptional ZMP binding stabilizes two structural elements that lead to antitermination by tuning the efficiency of terminator hairpin nucleation and strand displacement. We also uncover biases within natural ZTP riboswitch sequences that could avoid misfolded intermediates that disrupt function. Our findings establish a mechanism for ZTP riboswitch control of transcription that has similarities to the mechanisms of diverse riboswitches and provide evidence of selective pressure at the level of cotranscriptional RNA folding pathways.
doi:10.1101/521930 fatcat:ttutr4iaqnbb7kch2fdn5puf3a