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Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are functional molecules that regulate physiological programmes in developmental and disease contexts. This Review article discusses the complex networks of interactions that ncRNAs engage in and how these confer oncogenic or tumour-suppressive effects in cancer.
Structures in 5′ untranslated regions of eukaryotic mRNAs contribute to gene regulation by controlling cap-dependent and cap-independent translation initiation through diverse mechanisms. New structure probing technologies coupled with techniques such as compensatory mutagenesis will likely identify new structured RNA elements and help elucidate their function.
A high-resolution structure of the human ribosome determined by cryo-electron microscopy visualizes numerous RNA modifications that are concentrated at functional sites with an extended shell, and suggests the possibility of designing more specific ribosome-targeting drugs.
Environmental adaptation is generally studied at the genomic level, but it may also be driven by transcriptional processes. Here, the authors investigate variation in gene expression and RNA editing across diverging populations of Drosophila melanogaster from two microclimates.
The mitochondrial genome, being compressed to 16 kb, is an attractive model system to investigate how RNA-binding proteins chaperone mRNA lifecycles. Here the authors use RNase footprinting and PAR-CLIP to show that the LRPPRC–SLIRP complex stabilizes mRNA structures to expose sites required for translation and polyadenylation.
Assembly of the small ribosomal subunit from an RNA strand and 33 proteins is an intricate and dynamic process. Two cryo-EM studies now provide insight into a complicated complex of at least 51 trans-factors that act on the preribosomal small subunit to sequentially fold it into a 3D molecular machine.
The cellular crosstalk between different classes of regulatory noncoding RNAs has reached a new spatial dimension. Jiang et al. reveal an essential role of a nuclear-paraspeckle-organizing long noncoding RNA and its protein partners in regulating the first steps of microRNA biogenesis.