Biogenesis and Function of Circular RNAs in Health and in Disease

Conclusion The elucidation of the function of circRNAs is an emerging field of science with a tremendous potential after previously being dismissed as RNA artifacts. They are ubiquitously expressed and thousands of members have already been identified. This fact only expands their potential to possibly enhance our knowledge to understand the difference between health and disease. Owing to their structure stability and their presence in exosomes circRNAs may also exert their function in an autocrine, paracrine and possible endocrine fashion. In addition, the fact that circRNAs are widely distributed in the cellular compartment as well as in the extracellular space in various body fluids affords them to become ideal candidates as reliable biomarkers for various human diseases. As in any emerging field caution is advised in interpreting new findings. To date studies are merely descriptive in nature. More in depth analysis about the function and regulation of identified circRNAs is needed to understand their mechanism of action. These RNA molecules hold great promise as biomarkers of disease because of their high resistance to exonuclease activity and might even be more highly expressed than their linear counterparts. Especially their putative role as miRNA sponges makes them interesting targets for future investigations. In the future circRNA-based therapies might be introduced. The concept of establishing circRNAs as therapeutics in the future relies on the stability and expre...
Source: Frontiers in Pharmacology - Category: Drugs & Pharmacology Source Type: research