Non-coding RNAs: Multiple Players in Human Diseases

A special issue of Cells (ISSN 2073-4409).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 July 2024 | Viewed by 1416

Special Issue Editor

Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
Interests: non-coding RNA; epigenetics; genetics; neuroscience; genomics; biochemistry
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Dear Colleagues,

Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are a class of RNA molecules that are biologically functional but not translatable into a protein. Initially, ncRNAs referred to tRNAs and rRNAs. The ncRNA field has witnessed rapid growth, identifying several new classes of ncRNAs with the application of next-generation sequencing technologies. The new species of ncRNAs include small nuclear ribonucleic acid (snRNAs), small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs), microRNAs (miRNAs), small interference RNAs (siRNAs), piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs), extracellular RNAs (exRNAs), long non-coding RNA (lncRNAs), small Cajal body-specific RNAs (scaRNAs), and circular RNAs (circRNAs).

Although the approximate number of ncRNAs encoded within the mammalian genome has not been determined precisely, recent transcriptomic and bioinformatic studies predict the existence of a large quantity of ncRNAs in the human genome.

Functionally, many ncRNAs play essentially regulatory roles at transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels epigenetically via various molecular mechanisms, such as heterochromatin formation, DNA methylation, histone modifications, and physical interactions with chromatin-modifying proteins to recruit them to specific loci in the genome for chromatin remodeling and transcriptional regulation. Particularly, the large intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) are associated with chromatin-modifying complexes that target specific genomic loci to promote specific epigenetic states.

Numerous reports have documented the regulation of ncRNAs, particularly miRNAs and lncRNAs, in a wide range of cellular processes. Consequently, they significantly contribute to the regulation of the reproduction, regeneration, growth, development, and aging of organisms, particularly in mammals, and to pathogenesis of many diseases, such as tumorigenesis neurological disorders and heart/kidney diseases. Indeed, the emerging evidence has linked the aberrant generation of lncRNAs to down-regulation of the tumor suppressor genes and activation of the oncogenes.

A previous Special Issue in Cells, entitled “Non-coding RNAs: Epigenetic Players Implicated in Human Diseases”, was very successful, and comprises eight papers and reviews concerning various aspects of neuropsychiatric diseases. However, ncRNA is a broad and hot research field. It is difficult to cover it in one Special Issue. Therefore, we aim to work towards creating an additional Special Issue on this topic.

This Special Issue will focus on ncRNAs, particularly cirRNAs and lncRNAs, while other small RNAs, such as miRNAs and piRNAs, are also included due to their extensive functional characterization and the emerging interest on their therapeutic potential for stubborn diseases, such as neurological disorders and cancers.

We invite investigators in the field of ncRNAs and ncRNAs-mediated diseases, such as neurodegenerative diseases, cardiac diseases, hematological diseases, and cancers, to contribute original research articles as well as review articles. Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Bioinformatic and transcriptomic tools for the identification and characterization of ncRNAs, particularly the unclassified ncRNAs;
  • The latest technologies for predicting the structure and function of novel cirRNAs and lncRNAs in model and non-model organisms;
  • Distribution and characterization of ncRNAs in transcriptomes among the model and non-model organisms;
  • Regulation, functions, and mechanism of lncRNAs and cirRNAs in a wide range of cell processes, such as the metabolic pathways;
  • Potential links between the aberrant expression levels of ncRNAs and pathogenesis of some stubborn diseases, including cancer, neurological disorders, heart /kidney diseases;
  • Recent developments in the diagnosis of cancers, neurological diseases, and other genetic diseases with the implications of ncRNAs;
  • Targeting or delivery ncRNAs for therapy of cancer, neurological diseases, etc.;
  • Epitranscriptome modifications of lncRNAs in reproduction, regeneration, growth, development, and aging.

Please note: Any manuscripts solely based on public datasets without biological validations are not considered for deep review.

You may choose our Joint Special Issue in Non-Coding RNA.

Dr. Yujing Li
Guest Editor

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  • non-coding RNA
  • human disease
  • epigenetic marker
  • therapy
  • pathogenesis
  • transcriptome

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Published Papers (1 paper)

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24 pages, 4965 KiB  
circRNA-miRNA-mRNA Deregulated Network in Ischemic Heart Failure Patients
Cells 2023, 12(21), 2578; - 05 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1152
Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs), which include circular RNAs (circRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs), regulate the development of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Notably, circRNAs can interact with miRNAs, influencing their specific mRNA targets’ levels and shaping a competing endogenous RNAs (ceRNA) network. However, these interactions and their [...] Read more.
Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs), which include circular RNAs (circRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs), regulate the development of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Notably, circRNAs can interact with miRNAs, influencing their specific mRNA targets’ levels and shaping a competing endogenous RNAs (ceRNA) network. However, these interactions and their respective functions remain largely unexplored in ischemic heart failure (IHF). This study is aimed at identifying circRNA-centered ceRNA networks in non-end-stage IHF. Approximately 662 circRNA-miRNA-mRNA interactions were identified in the heart by combining state-of-the-art bioinformatics tools with experimental data. Importantly, KEGG terms of the enriched mRNA indicated CVD-related signaling pathways. A specific network centered on circBPTF was validated experimentally. The levels of let-7a-5p, miR-18a-3p, miR-146b-5p, and miR-196b-5p were enriched in circBPTF pull-down experiments, and circBPTF silencing inhibited the expression of HDAC9 and LRRC17, which are targets of miR-196b-5p. Furthermore, as suggested by the enriched pathway terms of the circBPTF ceRNA network, circBPTF inhibition elicited endothelial cell cycle arrest. circBPTF expression increased in endothelial cells exposed to hypoxia, and its upregulation was confirmed in cardiac samples of 36 end-stage IHF patients compared to healthy controls. In conclusion, circRNAs act as miRNA sponges, regulating the functions of multiple mRNA targets, thus providing a novel vision of HF pathogenesis and laying the theoretical foundation for further experimental studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-coding RNAs: Multiple Players in Human Diseases)
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