Molecule of the Month
April 2014
David Versus Goliath: A Tiny ncRNA Inhibits the Giant Ribosome

Non-protein-coding RNAs (ncRNA) are key players in controlling gene expression at multiple steps in all domains of life. Small ncRNAs involved in translation regulation typically target messenger RNAs.
Here we revealed the ribosome as a novel target for regulatory ncRNAs. An 18-mer RNA fragment directly interacts with the almost 1'000-fold larger ribosome upon hyperosmotic stress and inhibits global protein biosynthesis in yeast. This rapid attenuation of cell metabolism allows stress-specific adaptation programs to be established, which, in turn, enable cells to survive under challenging environmental conditions.

This work was carried out by Andreas Pircher and colleagues in the group of Prof. Norbert Polacek.


  • A. Pircher, K. Bakowska-Zywicka, L. Schneider, M. Zywicki, N. Polacek;
    "An mRNA-derived non-coding RNA targets and regulates the ribosome"
    Mol. Cell, 54, 147-155, (2014); doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2014.02.024.