The emerging community of cell-free synthetic biology aspires to build complex biochemical and genetic systems with functions that mimic or even exceed those in living cells. To achieve such functions, cell-free systems must be able to sense and respond to the complex chemical signals within and outside the system. Cell-free riboswitches can detect chemical signals via RNA–ligand interaction and respond by regulating protein synthesis in cell-free protein synthesis systems. In this article, we review synthetic cell-free riboswitches that function in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell-free systems reported to date to provide a current perspective on the state of cell-free riboswitch technologies and their limitations.
- This article is part of the themed collection: RSC Chemical Biology Editors' Choice