About this Research Topic
A major portion of eukaryotic genomes consists of DNA sequences whose transcripts do not code for proteins. This fraction of the genome is transcribed in a developmentally regulated manner and, in response to external stimuli, produces non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), RNAs that do not code for proteins.
Genome-wide studies have shown the existence of a great number of ncRNAs: ribosomal RNAs (rRNA), transfer RNAs (tRNA), small nuclear and nucleolar RNAs (snRNA and snoRNAs, respectively), microRNAs (miRNA), and a number of species whose functions are less clear (including vault RNAs, Y RNAs and piRNAs). Long ncRNAs (lncRNAs) are defined as RNA molecules that are longer than 200 nucleotides and do not have a translated open reading frame (ORF). Due to the complexity and diversity of lncRNA sequences and their mechanisms of action, progress in the field has been relatively slow.
lncRNAs have emerged as key players involved in the control of transcriptional and post-transcriptional gene regulatory pathways. Particularly interesting are the large intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs) that are conserved across mammals and appear to be associated with important functional roles. Recent work suggests various molecular mechanisms for lincRNAs, including the regulation of epigenetic marks and gene expression.
How can the function of non-coding RNA be molecularly dissected? From transcription through splicing and translation, every transcript is associated with numerous RNA binding proteins and non-coding RNAs that regulate processing, stability, transport and translation, thus defining the mechanism of action. Identification of ribonucleoprotein interactions is key to characterize the role of non-coding RNAs.
We welcome submission of Review or Original Research articles on the topic of the functional characterization of non-coding RNAs. The goal of this project is to have a dedicated article collection focusing on the most studied lncRNAs for the reader to compare and contrast the way(s) these lncRNA work in the context of cellular functions and protein networks.
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