Research Topic

With the Eyes on Non-Coding RNAs

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About this Research Topic

Development and maintenance of the visual system requires the coordinated function of many genes and pathways in a spatial and temporal manner to ensure the correct patterning of eye tissues and the subsequent generation of distinct neural cell types in appropriate numbers. Most of these developmental ...

Development and maintenance of the visual system requires the coordinated function of many genes and pathways in a spatial and temporal manner to ensure the correct patterning of eye tissues and the subsequent generation of distinct neural cell types in appropriate numbers. Most of these developmental processes are critically sensitive to gene dose and deviation from the normal levels of regulatory proteins can result in a variety of eye anomalies. Among the molecules that are considered essential in developmental processes of the visual system, are the MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a class of 20- to 25-nucleotide non-coding RNA molecules that mediate a key post-transcriptional control of gene expression. Significant evidence collected in the last decade illustrates the role of miRNAs in both physiological and pathological conditions, putting the basis for their selection as potential therapeutic targets to treat eye diseases. However, the understanding of the molecular mechanisms that regulate miRNAs and their role in the pathogenesis of ocular disease remains in early stages.

This Research Topic will provide greater insight into the mechanisms linking miRNA function to eye development and diseases. Contributors will provide more information about how miRNAs act as ‘master regulators’ or ‘fine-tuners’ of molecular networks, depending on the cellular context and their specific target. Unraveling the miRNA-mediated molecular mechanisms that influence processes such as cell fate determination, cell migration, neuronal polarization and synapse formation in the retina is crucial to better define the fundamental organization of the retina and the specializations of its microcircuits during development. We also seek to highlight recent studies focusing on how altered function of miRNA or their target genes may contribute to a range of ocular abnormalities by altering physiological cell function. Modulation of miRNA expression could be a potential therapeutic target to counteract onset and progression of eye disease.

This Research Topic aims to highlight significant scientific breakthroughs to gain a better understanding of the physiological and pathological role of miRNAs in the eye, which will enable us to improve the diagnostic ability, making it a target of future novel therapies to treat ocular diseases.

We welcome Original Research and Review articles falling under the following topics:

• Elucidating the role of miRNAs in early stages of eye development.
• Understanding the function of miRNAs in cell differentiation and maturation of ocular cell types.
• Characterization of the transcriptional control for miRNA expression in eye development and in terminally differentiated cell types of the eye.
• Understanding the role of miRNAs in the Exosomes/Extracellular vesicles secreted from eye cell types.
• Elucidating the molecular pathways that are dependent on miRNAs activities and the relevance to eye pathologies and blindness.
• Recent advances in miRNA-mediated therapy in eye disease.


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