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Front. Pharmacol. | doi: 10.3389/fphar.2019.00428

Biogenesis and function of circular RNAs in health and in disease

  • 1University Hospital Zürich, Switzerland

Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a class of noncoding RNA that were previously thought to be insignificant byproducts of splicing errors. However, recent advances in RNA sequencing confirmed the presence of circRNAs in multiple cell lines and across different species suggesting a functional role of this RNA species. CircRNAs arise from back-splicing events resulting in a circular RNA that is stable, specific and conserved. They can be generated from exons, exon-introns, or introns. CircRNAs have multifaceted functions. They are likely part of the competing endogenous RNA class. They can regulate gene expression by sponging microRNAs, binding proteins or they can be translated into a protein themselves. CircRNAs have been associated with health and disease, some with disease protective effects, some with disease promoting functions. The widespread expression and disease regulatory mechanisms endow circRNAs to be used as functional biomarkers and therapeutic targets for a variety of different disorders. In this concise article we provide an overview of the association of circRNAs with various diseases. In addition their role in maintaining physiological cellular homeostasis is discussed. We provide a summary on the fledgling body of literature on kidney-specific as well as cardiovascular circRNAs.

Keywords: circular RNA, non-coding RNA, exosome, Platelet, Kidney

Received: 29 Dec 2018; Accepted: 04 Apr 2019.

Edited by:

Frederic JAISSER, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), France

Reviewed by:

Max C. Liebau, Klinik und Poliklinik für Kinder- und Jugendmedizin, Universitätsklinikum Köln, Germany
Andreas Linkermann, Universitätsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus, Germany  

Copyright: © 2019 Haddad and Lorenzen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
PhD. George Haddad, University Hospital Zürich, Zurich, 8091, Zürich, Switzerland,
MD. Johan M. Lorenzen, University Hospital Zürich, Zurich, 8091, Zürich, Switzerland,