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Non-coding RNAs: Entwining Metabolism and Aging

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Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) have emerged as important regulatory molecules in a wide range of biological processes. Among these processes, ncRNAs are notorious for their role in determining cell identity, differentiation and metabolism. The past decade has seen a growing body of evidence that has implicated ...

Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) have emerged as important regulatory molecules in a wide range of biological processes. Among these processes, ncRNAs are notorious for their role in determining cell identity, differentiation and metabolism. The past decade has seen a growing body of evidence that has implicated ncRNAs in multiple human diseases, in particular chronic, age-related degenerative diseases including type 2 diabetes, neurodegeneration, cancer and cardiovascular dysfunction. ncRNAs have been linked to the pathophysiology of these diseases in part due to their impact on metabolic pathways, although these mechanisms still remain elusive, given the broad diversity of ncRNA species and their heterogeneous, largely uncharacterized and rather complex mode of action and regulation. ncRNAs have also been shown to act as signaling molecules as some species are secreted into the circulation and act in distant sites to regulate gene expression. These functions are even less characterized, as it remains to be found how these ncRNAs are released into blood stream and which conditions regulate this process. microRNAs are perhaps the best characterized species of ncRNAs with regulatory functions and are differentially expressed in response to aging or dietary interventions that impact metabolism. microRNAs have also been implicated in type 2 diabetes and other age-related metabolic diseases. The same has been observed, although less extensively, for other ncRNAs.

In this Research Topic, we will discuss and provide new evidence for the importance of ncRNAs in metabolism and their contributions to aging and age-related diseases. We will accept submissions of articles that consider these aspects and explore: 1) new mechanisms of regulation of ncRNAs; 2) new mechanisms of action of ncRNAs; 3) new species of ncRNAs with regulatory functions; 4) ncRNA structure and interaction; and 5) intertissue signaling by ncRNAs. Papers that provide original data, raise new hypotheses or synthesize current knowledge in the field are welcomed.


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