Regulation of lysine biosynthesis and transport genes in bacteria: Yet another RNA riboswitch?

Dmitry A. Rodionov, Alexey G. Vitreschak, Andrey A. Mironov, Mikhail S. Gelfand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Citations (Scopus)


Comparative analysis of genes, operons and regulatory elements was applied to the lysine biosynthetic pathway in available bacterial genomes. We report identification of a lysine-specific RNA element, named the LYS element, in the regulatory regions of bacterial genes involved in biosynthesis and transport of lysine. Similarly to the previously described RNA regulatory elements for three vitamins (riboflavin, thiamin and cobalamin), purine and methionine regulons, this regulatory RNA structure is highly conserved on the sequence and structural levels. The LYS element includes regions of lysine-constitutive mutations previously identified in Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis. A possible mechanism of the lysine-specific riboswitch is similar to the previously defined mechanisms for the other metabolite-specific riboswitches and involves either transcriptional or translational attenuation in various groups of bacteria. Identification of LYS elements in Gram-negative γ-proteobacteria, Gram-positive bacteria from the Bacillus/Clostridium group, and Thermotogales resulted in description of the previously uncharacterized lysine regulon in these bacterial species. Positional analysis of LYS elements led to identification of a number of new candidate lysine transporters, namely LysW, YvsH and LysXY. Finally, the most likely candidates for genes of lysine biosynthesis missing in Gram-positive bacteria were identified using the genome context analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6748-6757
Number of pages10
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


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