Non-coding RNAs

Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules that are not translated into protein products. Different classes of non-coding RNAs participate in different cellular processes; for example, gene expression regulation (miRNAs, piRNAs, lncRNAs), RNA maturation (snRNAs, snoRNAs) and protein synthesis (rRNAs, tRNAs).

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  • Comments and Opinion | | open

    Dr. Lovorka Stojic is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Cambridge and will start her own research group at the Barts Cancer Institute this fall. Her research focuses on understanding how long noncoding RNAs and RNA-binding proteins regulate key cellular processes and how dysregulation of these processes can contribute to human diseases such as cancer. As part of our series on early-career researchers, we asked Dr. Stojic to tell us about her research and career path. She also shares her challenges from juggling between multiple roles and advice for job applications.

  • News and Views |

    Epigenetic memory of silent chromatin often requires robust feedback loops between factors processing small non-coding RNAs and enzymes involved in heterochromatin assembly. A study published in Molecular Cell now demonstrates that these feedback loops can persist in a phenotypically neutral state even when gene expression is reactivated, and that they maintain the potential to reinstall heterochromatin in later generations when conditions change.

    • Matías Capella
    •  & Sigurd Braun
  • Comments and Opinion |

    The long non-coding RNA Xist induces heterochromatinization of the X chromosome by recruiting repressive protein complexes to chromatin. Here we gather evidence, from the literature and from computational analyses, showing that Xist assemblies are similar in size, shape and composition to phase-separated condensates, such as paraspeckles and stress granules. Given the progressive sequestration of Xist’s binding partners during X-chromosome inactivation, we formulate the hypothesis that Xist uses phase separation to perform its function.

    • Andrea Cerase
    • , Alexandros Armaos
    • , Christoph Neumayer
    • , Philip Avner
    • , Mitchell Guttman
    •  & Gian Gaetano Tartaglia