Small RNA regulators in bacteria: powerful tools for metabolic engineering and synthetic biology
Small RNAs, a large class of ancient posttranscriptional regulators, have recently attracted considerable attention. A plethora of small RNAs has been identified and characterized, many of which belong to the major small noncoding RNA (sRNA) or riboswitch families. It has become increasingly clear that most small RNAs play critical regulatory roles in many processes and are, therefore, considered to be powerful tools for metabolic engineering and synthetic biology. In this review, we describe recent achievements in the identification, characterization, and application of small RNAs. We give particular attention to advances in the design and synthesis of novel sRNAs and riboswitches for metabolic engineering. In addition, a novel strategy for hierarchical control of global metabolic pathways is proposed.