The highly structured, cis-encoded RNA elements known as riboswitches modify gene expression upon binding a wide range of molecules. The yybP-ykoY motif was one of the most broadly distributed and numerous bacterial riboswitches for which the cognate ligand was unknown. Using a combination of invivo reporter and invitro expression assays, equilibrium dialysis, and northern analysis, we show that the yybP-ykoY motif responds directly to manganese ions in both Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis. The identification of the yybP-ykoY motif as amanganese ion sensor suggests that the genes that are preceded by this motif and encode a diverse set of poorly characterized membrane proteins have roles in metal homeostasis.
Dambach, M., Sandoval, M., Updegrove, T. B., Anantharaman, V., Aravind, L., Waters, L. S., & Storz, G. (2015). The Ubiquitous yybP-ykoY Riboswitch Is a Manganese-Responsive Regulatory Element. Molecular Cell, 57(6), 1099–1109. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2015.01.035