Lactis-leu-phe leader RNA motif

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Consensus secondary structure of lactis-leu/phe leader RNAs. This figure is adapted from a previous publication.[1]
leu/phe leader RNA from Lactococcus lactis
Symbol leu-phe_leader
Rfam RF01743
Other data
RNA type Cis-reg; leader;
Domain(s) Bacteria;
SO 0005836

The leu/phe-leader RNA motif (also the lactis-leu/phe-leader motif) is a conserved RNA structure identified by bioinformatics.[1] These RNAs function as peptide leaders. They contain a short open reading frame (ORF) that contains many codons for leucine or phenylalanine. Normally, expression of the downstream genes is suppressed. However, when cellular concentrations of the relevant amino acid is low, ribosome stalling leads to an alternate structure that enables downstream gene expression.

Leu/phe leaders of this structure are known only in the species Lactococcus lactis, and is essentially the same as a previously characterized leucine leader in the same species.[2] Additional homologs were uncovered that contain phenylalanine codons instead of leucine codons, and are upstream of genes involved in the synthesis of phenylalanine, instead of leucine.


  1. ^ a b Weinberg Z, Wang JX, Bogue J, et al. (March 2010). "Comparative genomics reveals 104 candidate structured RNAs from bacteria, archaea and their metagenomes". Genome Biol. 11 (3): R31. doi:10.1186/gb-2010-11-3-r31. PMC 2864571Freely accessible. PMID 20230605. 
  2. ^ Kok J (October 1996). "Inducible gene expression and environmentally regulated genes in lactic acid bacteria". Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 70 (2-4): 129–45. doi:10.1007/BF00395930. PMID 8879404. 

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