About this Research Topic
Discoveries from the past decades revealed that RNA molecules are much more than inert intermediates between the coding DNA sequences and their functional products, proteins. Today, RNAs are recognised as active regulatory molecules influencing gene expression, chromatin organisation and genome stability, thus impacting all aspects of plant life including development, growth, reproduction and stress tolerance.
The genetic code is conveyed by messenger RNAs (mRNAs). These macromolecules are synthesised in the nucleus as precursors and normally undergo processing, maturation and modifications. Protein translation takes place in the cytoplasm and its efficacy is greatly influenced by RNA structure, transport and stability. However, the most abundant cellular RNA fraction is composed of diverse families of non-coding RNAs. Transfer RNAs (tRNAs) and ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs) are essential for protein synthesis, small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs) are components of the spliceosome and hence involved in mRNA maturation, while small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) are needed for precursor rRNA cleavage and site-specific RNA modifications.
Innovations in methodologies, the expanding application of next-generation sequencing technologies, and the creation of public datasets and databases have exposed a new universe of RNA-based mechanisms and led to the discovery of new families of non-coding RNAs, uncovered the large extent of alternative splicing events, and highlighted the potential roles of RNA modifications and RNA secondary structures. Furthermore, considerable advances have been made in identifying RNA-binding and processing factors involved in the synthesis and maturation of different forms of RNA molecules as well as in RNA processing, biochemical modifications or degradation.
Plant RNA biology is a broad and complex field that has progressed immensely in recent years. Emerging new technologies and novel multidisciplinary approaches are empowering the scientific community to tackle the challenges ahead towards understanding the biological relevance, interconnections and roles of the different RNA molecules.
This Research Topic aims to showcase current and novel findings, as well as technical advances, in Plant RNA Biology. Submission of different types of articles — Reviews, Mini-Reviews, Methods, and Original Research Articles — is welcome. The focus will be on, but not limited to, the following topics:
- RNA processing and maturation: constitutive and alternative splicing, capping, polyadenylation;
- Post-transcriptional RNA modifications;
- RNA mobility;
- Modifications of RNA structure;
- RNA-protein interactions;
- RNA stability, degradation, nonsense-mediated decay;
- Biogenesis, role and mode of action of various non-coding RNAs.
Contributions from early career scientists are particularly encouraged.
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.