12 Antisense RNAs in bacteria and their genetic elements

E. Gerhart H. Wagner*, Shoshy Altuvia, Pascale Romby

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

203 Scopus citations


Antisense RNA-mediated regulation is widespread in bacteria. Most antisense RNA control systems have been found in plasmids, phages, and transposons. Fewer examples were identified in bacterial chromosomes. This chapter summarizes our current knowledge about antisense RNAs with respect to their occurrence, their biological roles, and their diverse mechanisms of action. Examples of cis- or trans-encoded antisense RNAs are discussed, and their properties compared. Most antisense RNAs are posttranscriptionally acting inhibitors of target genes, but a few examples of activator antisense RNAs are known. The implications of RNA structure on topologically and kinetically favored binding pathways are addressed, and solutions that have evolved to permit productive interactions between intricately folded RNAs are discussed. Finally, we describe how particular properties of individual antisense/target RNA systems match their respective biological roles.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationAdvances in Genetics
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages38
ISBN (Print)0120176467, 9780120176465
StatePublished - 2002

Publication series

NameAdvances in Genetics
ISSN (Print)0065-2660

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge helpful discussions with the lab members of their research groups. G.W. and S.A. acknowledge grants from the Human Frontier Science Program. G.W. is grateful for financial support by the Swedish Natural Science Research Council. P.R is supported by grants from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).


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