Isothermal Titration Calorimetry Measurements of Riboswitch-Ligand Interactions

  • Christopher P. Jones
  • Grzegorz Piszczek
  • Adrian R. Ferré-D’AmaréEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1964)


One of the many ways by which bacteria control gene expression is through cis-acting regulatory mRNA elements called riboswitches. By specifically binding to small molecules or metabolites and pairing the binding event to an RNA structure change, riboswitches link a metabolic input to a transcriptional or translational output. For over a decade, isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) has been used to investigate how riboswitches interact with small molecules. We present methods for assaying RNA-ligand interactions using ITC and analyzing resulting data to estimate thermodynamic parameters associated with binding.

Key words

Riboswitch Isothermal titration calorimetry RNA folding Heat capacity 



We thank S. Bachas, M. Chen, N. Demeshkina, C. Fagan, T. Numata, Lj. Sjekloca, and R. Trachman III for helpful discussions. This work was partially supported by the intramural program of the NHLBI, NIH, and by a Lenfant Biomedical Fellowship to C.P.J.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher P. Jones
    • 1
  • Grzegorz Piszczek
    • 2
  • Adrian R. Ferré-D’Amaré
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Biochemistry and Biophysics CenterNational Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Biophysics Core FacilityNational Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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