Research Topic

Current Advances in the Research of RNA Regulatory Enzymes

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In addition to the so-called classical non-coding RNAs such as rRNAs and tRNAs, a large number of functional non-coding RNAs, such as microRNAs (miRNAs), and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been identified since the beginning of the 21st century, and their important functions, especially in gene ...

In addition to the so-called classical non-coding RNAs such as rRNAs and tRNAs, a large number of functional non-coding RNAs, such as microRNAs (miRNAs), and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been identified since the beginning of the 21st century, and their important functions, especially in gene regulation, have been reported extensively. Although these RNA molecules are classified as “functional” RNAs, non-coding RNAs require protein cofactors and/or processing enzymes to mature and perform their biological functions. For example, rRNAs are associated with dozens of ribosomal proteins, and functional mature tRNAs are produced after processing by enzymes such as ribonuclease P, the CCA-adding enzyme, and several tRNA modification enzymes. These processes are also applicable to miRNA biogenesis and the regulation of many messenger RNAs (mRNAs).

However, literature reports comparing recent advances in the research of RNA regulatory enzymes are becoming increasingly difficult to find. Are these fields of science, based on enzymology, biochemistry, and molecular biology from the 20th century old-fashioned? We, the editors in this Research Topic, dare to say “No”. Next-generation sequencing technology has yielded large amounts of DNA data, and the amino acid sequences deduced from the DNA data contribute toward a more accurate understanding of the molecular evolution of enzymes. Similarly, RNA-seq analysis provides a useful source to search for unidentified RNA modifications, as well as information on the diversity of the related enzymes. Furthermore, new structural biology techniques allow the visualization of changes in catalytic site(s) at the atomic level before and after enzyme reactions, in addition to providing an understanding of the dynamics of substrate RNA molecules. Based on this historical background, we will highlight recent advances in the research of RNA enzymes and/or RNA binding-proteins.

We would like to ask our readers to contribute by writing reviews or original research papers on the following topics:
• RNA synthesis enzymes such as RNA polymerases or reverse transcriptases;
• Ribonucleases involved in RNA processing and/or RNA degradation pathways (ribonuclease E, ribonuclease H, and others) as well as ribonuclease complexes (exosome);
• Ribonuclease III-type enzymes (Drosha and Dicer) involved in miRNA biogenesis;
• RNA modification enzymes specific to rRNAs and/or tRNAs;
• RNA modification enzymes related to RNA epigenetics.

Enzymes such as polynucleotide kinase, RNA terminal phosphate cyclase, RNA ligase, and RNA helicase are also important targets. We also accept papers related to specific or general RNA-binding proteins involved in biological regulatory processes such as alternative splicing, translation, RNA editing, and cell differentiation and development. Although the examples listed above include only protein enzymes, RNA enzymes (ribozymes) and RNA-containing enzymes (including telomerase and Cas9 endonucleases among others) are also considered important topics in this issue.

Finally, to improve the usefulness of this Research Topic, we ask you to summarize some characteristics of your enzyme of interest [such as amino acid length, functional domain(s), three-dimensional structure (if available), species possessing those enzymes, and molecular evolutionary position] in the early part of the introduction section.


Keywords: RNA, Enzyme, RNA-binding protein, RNA processing, Ribozyme


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.

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