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Non-coding RNAs: Crossing the Aisle from Cancer to Neurodegeneration

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Two of the most clinically problematic classes of disease impacting the world’s aging populations are cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Although there are stark differences between cancer cells and neurons, with the former dividing rapidly and the latter relatively quiescent and non-replicating, a ...

Two of the most clinically problematic classes of disease impacting the world’s aging populations are cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Although there are stark differences between cancer cells and neurons, with the former dividing rapidly and the latter relatively quiescent and non-replicating, a growing body of evidence supports common genetic mechanisms involved in dysregulated cancer cell growth and the progression of neurodegenerative disease. Non-coding RNAs have been recently found in surprising abundance, with novel classes and unanticipated functions discovered on a regular basis. To date, non-coding RNAs have been shown to play roles in mediating antiviral responses, transcriptional regulation (both activation and suppression), chromatin remodeling, genomic stability (piRNA), organizing chromosomal domains, restraining the spread of selfish genetic elements, and evolution. The main objective of this frontier special is to review the most recent advances implicating non-coding RNAs in both neurodegeneration and cancer, and stimulate interdisciplinary interactions. The goal of this session is to use the contexts of neurodegeneration and cancer to raise awareness of the pervasive nature of non-coding RNA expression and to illuminate the diversity of non-coding RNA function, thereby providing researchers with a new paradigm that they can apply to understanding the molecular basis of other types of human disease.


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