Research Topic

The RNA World: Non Coding RNAs and Innovative Therapies in Neurological Disorders

About this Research Topic

Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) comprise all the RNAs that do not translate into protein, from the first discovered ribosomal and transfer RNA (tRNA), to micro RNAs (miRNAs), small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs), small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs), and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). However, these molecules have a broad range of functions. For example, ncRNAs can act at different stages of gene expression ranging from chromatin remodeling to transcriptional, post-transcriptional, and translational regulation, thus increasing, or reducing protein output.

Accumulating evidence underlines a unique and specific role of ncRNAs in the pathogenesis of neurological disorders, such as cognition impairment, epilepsy, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, and highlights their association also with brain cancer. Some of those ncRNAs have proven to be a revolution in the diagnostic and drug discovery field. Furthermore, in the last years, studies of these ncRNAs have unraveled and characterized novel molecular circuits facilitating the development of a growing number of approved RNA therapeutics for brain disorders.

Among the thousands of ncRNAs identified in the CNS, only a small fraction has been so far functionally associated with neuronal activities -including synaptic transmission, plasticity, and cognitive performance, in both normal and pathological conditions. Highlighting the essential nature of ncRNAs in brain development and functioning, as well as in neuronal lineage reprogramming, provides an overview of the networks to which they belong and how to use them as diagnostic and therapeutic targets. Recent efforts have been devoted to the understanding of the physiological role of exosomal ncRNAs in cellular crosstalk. Exosomes seem to be involved in the progression of several brain pathologies and their ncRNAs content might be a promising source of biomarkers for brain disease. In addition, exosomal targeting and nanotechnology-based approaches offer innovative tools for RNA-based delivery in order to optimize drug efficacy and cellular specificity in the brain.

With this Research Topic, we aim to showcase advances in this field, stimulate the research poised to ameliorate a holistic understanding of neuronal activity controlled by ncRNAs and their applicability as attractive therapeutic options to treat neurological disorders as well as brain cancers (i.e. glioblastoma).

With this Research Topic, we seek original research articles, reviews, methods, and mini-reviews related to the genetic, molecular, cellular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of neurological disorders and brain cancers associated with ncRNAs, with a specific focus on their applicability in diagnostic and molecular-targeted therapies. Highlights on the importance of brain region specificity and the microenvironment to enhance ncRNAs stability are also welcome.

Key areas include, but are not restricted to:
• ncRNAs networks
• disease biomarkers
• neuronal plasticity
• protein synthesis in neurons
• cell reprogramming
• glia-neuron crosstalk
• microglia and immunity response
• RNA-binding proteins and associated diseases
• nanotechnologies and delivery systems
• exosomal ncRNAs
• RNA diagnostic
• RNA therapeutics


Keywords: Neurodevelopment, Neurodegeneration, Brain Cancer, RNA-Binding Proteins, RNA Therapeutics


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.

Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) comprise all the RNAs that do not translate into protein, from the first discovered ribosomal and transfer RNA (tRNA), to micro RNAs (miRNAs), small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs), small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs), and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). However, these molecules have a broad range of functions. For example, ncRNAs can act at different stages of gene expression ranging from chromatin remodeling to transcriptional, post-transcriptional, and translational regulation, thus increasing, or reducing protein output.

Accumulating evidence underlines a unique and specific role of ncRNAs in the pathogenesis of neurological disorders, such as cognition impairment, epilepsy, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, and highlights their association also with brain cancer. Some of those ncRNAs have proven to be a revolution in the diagnostic and drug discovery field. Furthermore, in the last years, studies of these ncRNAs have unraveled and characterized novel molecular circuits facilitating the development of a growing number of approved RNA therapeutics for brain disorders.

Among the thousands of ncRNAs identified in the CNS, only a small fraction has been so far functionally associated with neuronal activities -including synaptic transmission, plasticity, and cognitive performance, in both normal and pathological conditions. Highlighting the essential nature of ncRNAs in brain development and functioning, as well as in neuronal lineage reprogramming, provides an overview of the networks to which they belong and how to use them as diagnostic and therapeutic targets. Recent efforts have been devoted to the understanding of the physiological role of exosomal ncRNAs in cellular crosstalk. Exosomes seem to be involved in the progression of several brain pathologies and their ncRNAs content might be a promising source of biomarkers for brain disease. In addition, exosomal targeting and nanotechnology-based approaches offer innovative tools for RNA-based delivery in order to optimize drug efficacy and cellular specificity in the brain.

With this Research Topic, we aim to showcase advances in this field, stimulate the research poised to ameliorate a holistic understanding of neuronal activity controlled by ncRNAs and their applicability as attractive therapeutic options to treat neurological disorders as well as brain cancers (i.e. glioblastoma).

With this Research Topic, we seek original research articles, reviews, methods, and mini-reviews related to the genetic, molecular, cellular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of neurological disorders and brain cancers associated with ncRNAs, with a specific focus on their applicability in diagnostic and molecular-targeted therapies. Highlights on the importance of brain region specificity and the microenvironment to enhance ncRNAs stability are also welcome.

Key areas include, but are not restricted to:
• ncRNAs networks
• disease biomarkers
• neuronal plasticity
• protein synthesis in neurons
• cell reprogramming
• glia-neuron crosstalk
• microglia and immunity response
• RNA-binding proteins and associated diseases
• nanotechnologies and delivery systems
• exosomal ncRNAs
• RNA diagnostic
• RNA therapeutics


Keywords: Neurodevelopment, Neurodegeneration, Brain Cancer, RNA-Binding Proteins, RNA Therapeutics


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

30 September 2021 Abstract
28 March 2022 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

30 September 2021 Abstract
28 March 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

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

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