About this Research Topic
The discovery that transcription is pervasive with more than 90% of the genome encoding transcripts that are not translated into proteins has transformed the way we think about gene regulation. These noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) are arbitrary divided into two groups based on their length, the small RNAs (<200nt) and long non coding RNAs, lncRNAs (>200nt). MicroRNAs (miRNAs) represent the best studied class of small ncRNAs. MiRNAs are 18-25 nucleotides long transcripts, evolutionary conserved and exhibit distinct tissue expression profiles. On the other hand, lncRNAs range from 200 nucleotides to several kilobases in length, represent the largest class of ncRNAs and display limited sequence conservation. LncRNAs tend to fold into thermodynamically stable secondary structures, such as double helixes and hairpins. Conservation of the secondary structure rather than the sequence was proposed to define lncRNA function.
Unbiased approaches have revealed a direct association of ncRNA expression with distinct pathologies and sparked interest in the potential role of ncRNAs in tissue homeostasis and disease. A diverse array of functions has been assigned ranging from epigenetic and transcriptional regulation, nuclear organization and RNA modifications. Furthermore, epitranscriptomic analysis revealed that post-transcriptional RNA modifications can affect the RNA metabolism adding an extra layer of regulation that can have an impact on the cellular adaptations to stress stimuli.
The proposed Research Topic will discuss the major advancements in RNA therapeutics in the heart and the latest developments in ncRNAs and vascular remodelling, with a particular emphasis on miRNA mediated therapeutic approaches in atherosclerosis, aneurysmal diseases and the emerging importance of ncRNAs in pulmonary hypertension. The potential of secreted ncRNAs as mediators of intercellular communication and putative biomarkers of disease will be reviewed. Understanding the mechanisms involved in ncRNA mediated regulation and exploiting them to design and deliver novel therapeutic agents can be challenging and requires the development of a new set of tools. Thus, part of this Research Topic will focus on the novel technical advancements and technologies. It will include reviews, on the bioinformatics software programs that can be applied to interrogate and integrate data obtained from various high-throughput platforms and the emerging potential of gene editing as a tool to identify regulatory mechanisms. Finally, the assays and workflows that can be employed to determine the RNA structural domains that are critical for ncRNA function will be discussed.
Keywords: Noncoding RNA, Circulating RNA, Intercellular communication, Epitranscriptomics, RNA therapeutics
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