Research Topic

Gene Regulation Mediated by Competing RNA: from Benchside to Bedside

About this Research Topic

Apart from transcriptional factors, non-coding RNA (ncRNA) represents for another major entity in regulation of gene expression. One of the mechanisms underlying ncRNA-mediated gene regulation is via competing interaction with the regulatory region, gene body or transcribed mRNAs of the targeted genes. Competing ncRNA-mediated gene regulation plays important roles in various biological processes, disease progression and therapy resistance. A great number of therapeutic approaches have developed based on these mechanisms as well. Therefore, competing RNA is a promising tool not only for basic researches, but also for therapeutic applications.

MicroRNA is a class of small ncRNA that negatively regulates gene expression by competing interaction with mRNA 3’ UTR region and mediating RNA degradation via RISC complex. Based on this mechanism, artificial small RNAs, such as siRNA, miRNA and ASO, are developed as genetic tools to regulate gene expression. On the other hand, as microRNA itself is expressed in a tissue- or cell type-specific pattern, microRNA target sites are employed to enable tissue- or cell type-specific transgene expression for targeted gene therapies.

Long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) and circular RNA (circRNA) are capable of regulating gene expression indirectly by serving as microRNA sponges. Recently, artificial lncRNAs and circRNAs are also exploited as novel therapeutic tools for gene regulation in disease treatment.

Guide RNA (gRNA) is also an important class of artificial small ncRNA that competitively bind with elements on the genome with the CRISPR/Cas complex. Since the first application of the CRISPR/Cas9 system in human genome editing, the RNA-guided gene targeting technology has been exploited rapidly and massively for diverse purposes, including gene regulation. By using the catalytically dead Cas9 (dCas9), and conjugating it with a transcriptional activator (e.g. VP64) or repressor (e.g. KRAB), the CRISPR/Cas9 system could be repurposed for targeted gene activation or repression, which are the so called CRISPRa and CRISPRi technologies.

Recently, RNA viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2, has been found to serve as exogenous competing RNA and thus modulate endogenous gene expression, which might contribute to disease progression. Amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, it would be of great interest to explore the role of SARS-CoV-2 in competing RNA-mediated gene regulation as well.

This Research Topic will focus on competing RNA-mediated gene regulation and its therapeutic applications. We welcome investigators in relevant fields to contribute Original Research, Review and Methods articles. Potential topics will cover but not limited to the following:

* Novel sequencing and bioinformatic tools for systematical identification and characterization of competing interactions of lncRNAs, circRNAs or microRNAs.
* The roles of lncRNAs, circRNAs or microRNAs for regulating important functional genes via competing endogenous RNA network.
* Development and applications of artificial small ncRNAs (e.g. siRNA, amiRNA, ASO) for therapeutic treatment.
* Development and applications of artificial lncRNA and cirRNA for therapeutic treatment.
* Applications of CRISPR/Cas systems for targeted gene activation or repression.


Keywords: lncRNA, microRNA, circRNA, CRISPR, gene regulation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Apart from transcriptional factors, non-coding RNA (ncRNA) represents for another major entity in regulation of gene expression. One of the mechanisms underlying ncRNA-mediated gene regulation is via competing interaction with the regulatory region, gene body or transcribed mRNAs of the targeted genes. Competing ncRNA-mediated gene regulation plays important roles in various biological processes, disease progression and therapy resistance. A great number of therapeutic approaches have developed based on these mechanisms as well. Therefore, competing RNA is a promising tool not only for basic researches, but also for therapeutic applications.

MicroRNA is a class of small ncRNA that negatively regulates gene expression by competing interaction with mRNA 3’ UTR region and mediating RNA degradation via RISC complex. Based on this mechanism, artificial small RNAs, such as siRNA, miRNA and ASO, are developed as genetic tools to regulate gene expression. On the other hand, as microRNA itself is expressed in a tissue- or cell type-specific pattern, microRNA target sites are employed to enable tissue- or cell type-specific transgene expression for targeted gene therapies.

Long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) and circular RNA (circRNA) are capable of regulating gene expression indirectly by serving as microRNA sponges. Recently, artificial lncRNAs and circRNAs are also exploited as novel therapeutic tools for gene regulation in disease treatment.

Guide RNA (gRNA) is also an important class of artificial small ncRNA that competitively bind with elements on the genome with the CRISPR/Cas complex. Since the first application of the CRISPR/Cas9 system in human genome editing, the RNA-guided gene targeting technology has been exploited rapidly and massively for diverse purposes, including gene regulation. By using the catalytically dead Cas9 (dCas9), and conjugating it with a transcriptional activator (e.g. VP64) or repressor (e.g. KRAB), the CRISPR/Cas9 system could be repurposed for targeted gene activation or repression, which are the so called CRISPRa and CRISPRi technologies.

Recently, RNA viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2, has been found to serve as exogenous competing RNA and thus modulate endogenous gene expression, which might contribute to disease progression. Amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, it would be of great interest to explore the role of SARS-CoV-2 in competing RNA-mediated gene regulation as well.

This Research Topic will focus on competing RNA-mediated gene regulation and its therapeutic applications. We welcome investigators in relevant fields to contribute Original Research, Review and Methods articles. Potential topics will cover but not limited to the following:

* Novel sequencing and bioinformatic tools for systematical identification and characterization of competing interactions of lncRNAs, circRNAs or microRNAs.
* The roles of lncRNAs, circRNAs or microRNAs for regulating important functional genes via competing endogenous RNA network.
* Development and applications of artificial small ncRNAs (e.g. siRNA, amiRNA, ASO) for therapeutic treatment.
* Development and applications of artificial lncRNA and cirRNA for therapeutic treatment.
* Applications of CRISPR/Cas systems for targeted gene activation or repression.


Keywords: lncRNA, microRNA, circRNA, CRISPR, gene regulation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

02 January 2021 Abstract
02 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

02 January 2021 Abstract
02 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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