Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


T-box RNA gets boxed

Bacterial T-boxes are regulatory mRNA regions that control the transcription or translation of factors involved in amino acid supply. T-boxes act by directly binding to non-aminoacylated tRNA in response to amino acid starvation. Three studies now capture three-dimensional structures of tRNA–T-box complexes and reveal a set of RNA features that are required for the recognition of specific tRNAs and modulation of gene expression.

Your institute does not have access to this article

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: Transcriptional control mechanism and overall architecture of T-boxes.
Fig. 2: Three-dimensional structures of T-boxes.


  1. Dale, B. A. & Nester, E. W. J. Bacteriol. 108, 586–588 (1971).

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  2. Nass, G. & Neidhardt, F. C. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 134, 347–359 (1967).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Henkin, T. M., Glass, B. L. & Grundy, F. J. J. Bacteriol. 174, 1299–1306 (1992).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Putzer, H., Gendron, N. & Grunberg-Manago, M. EMBO J. 11, 3117–3127 (1992).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Grandoni, J. A., Zahler, S. A. & Calvo, J. M. J. Bacteriol. 174, 3212–3219 (1992).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Grundy, F. J. & Henkin, T. M. Cell 74, 475–482 (1993).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Henkin, T. M. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1839, 959–963 (2014).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Li, S. et al. Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. (2019).

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  9. Zhang, J. & Ferré-D’Amaré, A. R. Nature 500, 363–366 (2013).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Grigg, J. C. & Ke, A. Structure 21, 2025–2032 (2013).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Battaglia, R. A., Grigg, J. C. & Ke, A. Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. (2019).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Suddala, K. C. & Zhang, J. Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. (2019).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Zhang, J. & Ferré-D’Amaré, A. R. Mol. Cell 55, 148–155 (2014).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Nahvi, A. et al. Chem. Biol. 9, 1043 (2002).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Winkler, W., Nahvi, A. & Breaker, R. R. Nature 419, 952–956 (2002).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Mironov, A. S. et al. Cell 111, 747–756 (2002).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Serganov, A. & Nudler, E. Cell 152, 17–24 (2013).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Ren, A., Micura, R. & Patel, D. J. Curr. Opin. Chem. Biol. 41, 71–83 (2017).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Korostelev, A., Trakhanov, S., Laurberg, M. & Noller, H. F. Cell 126, 1065–1077 (2006).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Brown, A., Fernández, I. S., Gordiyenko, Y. & Ramakrishnan, V. Nature 534, 277–280 (2016).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alexander Serganov.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Weaver, J.W., Serganov, A. T-box RNA gets boxed. Nat Struct Mol Biol 26, 1081–1083 (2019).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing