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The asd RNA motif is a conserved RNA structure found is certain lactic acid bacteria. The asd motif was detected by bioinformatics and an individual asd RNA in Streptococcus pyogenes was detected by microarray and northern hybridization experiments as a 170-nucleotide molecule called “SR914400”. The transcription start site determined for SR914400 corresponds to the 5′-end of the molecule shown in the consensus diagram.
Some asd RNAs are associated with genes, such as asd, that are suggestive of a cis-regulatory function. However, several lines of evidence suggest that this is not the biological role of asd RNAs. First, in some cases, the asd RNA is not in the 5′ untranslated region of any annotated gene. Second, in Streptococcus mutans, there is a strong promoter immediately downstream of the transcription terminator that follows the asd RNA, and this promoter precedes the downstream gene. This arrangement suggests that asd RNA transcription is terminated, and the gene is transcribed from the downstream promoter. Finally, although the asd gene encodes an enzyme, aspartate-semialdehyde dehydrogenase, that participates in the synthesis of methionine, lysine and threonine, transcription levels of the asd gene remain constant even when the concentrations of these amino acids are varied.

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