Youngha Ryu: Riboswitches are messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) structures that control gene expression, mainly in bacteria. These recently characterized RNA molecules can specifically bind their cognate metabolites, inducing conformational changes that ultimately lead to the negative or positive regulation of the genes associated with the biosynthesis, transport, or degradation of the metabolites. Dr. Ryu’s research group is currently developing small molecules that probe and modulate bacterial riboswitches. Once developed, these molecules will provide important tools to study riboswitch-mediated biochemical and cellular processes, and ultimately could provide a molecular basis for the development of new antibiotic drugs.
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