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  • Research interest in noncoding RNAs and their biological implications in a variety of cellular contexts has been growing. In this issue, we present a series of pieces discussing recent method advances and future directions for deciphering the regulatory roles of noncoding RNAs.

    Editorial
  • A naturally short-lived fish opens the gates for rapid exploration of vertebrate aging.

    • Itamar Harel
    This Month
  • Nanopore direct RNA sequencing (DRS) reads continuous native RNA strands. Early adopters have used this technology to document nucleotide modifications and 3′ polyadenosine tails on RNA strands without added chemistry steps. Individual strands ranging in length from 70 to 26,000 nucleotides have been sequenced. In our opinion, broader acceptance of nanopore DRS by molecular biologists and cell biologists will be accelerated by higher basecall accuracy and lower RNA input requirements.

    • Miten Jain
    • Robin Abu-Shumays
    • Mark Akeson
    Comment
  • Recent studies have revealed multifaceted roles of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) in gene regulation, accompanying an increased understanding of lncRNA processing, localization, interacting macromolecules and structural modules. Here, progress and recently developed technological advances for understanding lncRNA biogenesis, modes of action and cellular phenotypes are highlighted, and challenges and opportunities towards higher-resolution and in vivo studies in this field are discussed.

    • Ling-Ling Chen
    Comment
  • In recent years, the number of annotated noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) and RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) has increased dramatically. The wide range of RBPs identified highlights the enormous potential for RNA in virtually all aspects of cell biology, from transcriptional regulation to metabolic control. Yet, there is a growing gap between what is possible and what has been demonstrated to be functionally important. Here we highlight recent methodological developments in the study of RNA–protein interactions, discuss the challenges and opportunities for exploring their functional roles, and provide our perspectives on what is needed to bridge the gap in this rapidly expanding field.

    • Jimmy K. Guo
    • Mitchell Guttman
    Comment

Method of the Year 2021: Protein structure prediction

Protein structure prediction is our Method of the Year 2021, for the remarkable levels of accuracy achieved by deep learning-based methods in predicting the 3D structures of proteins and protein complexes, essentially solving this long-standing challenge.
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