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      RNA in cancer

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      Nature Reviews Cancer
      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          While the processing of mRNA is essential for gene expression, recent findings have highlighted that RNA processing is systematically altered in cancer. Mutations in RNA splicing factor genes and the shortening of 3' untranslated regions are widely observed. Moreover, evidence is accumulating that other types of RNAs, including circular RNAs, can contribute to tumorigenesis. In this Review, we highlight how altered processing or activity of coding and non-coding RNAs contributes to cancer. We introduce the regulation of gene expression by coding and non-coding RNA and discuss both established roles (microRNAs and long non-coding RNAs) and emerging roles (selective mRNA processing and circular RNAs) for RNAs, highlighting the potential mechanisms by which these RNA subtypes contribute to cancer. The widespread alteration of coding and non-coding RNA demonstrates that altered RNA biogenesis contributes to multiple hallmarks of cancer.

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          Most cited references220

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          Hallmarks of Cancer: The Next Generation

          The hallmarks of cancer comprise six biological capabilities acquired during the multistep development of human tumors. The hallmarks constitute an organizing principle for rationalizing the complexities of neoplastic disease. They include sustaining proliferative signaling, evading growth suppressors, resisting cell death, enabling replicative immortality, inducing angiogenesis, and activating invasion and metastasis. Underlying these hallmarks are genome instability, which generates the genetic diversity that expedites their acquisition, and inflammation, which fosters multiple hallmark functions. Conceptual progress in the last decade has added two emerging hallmarks of potential generality to this list-reprogramming of energy metabolism and evading immune destruction. In addition to cancer cells, tumors exhibit another dimension of complexity: they contain a repertoire of recruited, ostensibly normal cells that contribute to the acquisition of hallmark traits by creating the "tumor microenvironment." Recognition of the widespread applicability of these concepts will increasingly affect the development of new means to treat human cancer. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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            Circular RNAs are a large class of animal RNAs with regulatory potency.

            Circular RNAs (circRNAs) in animals are an enigmatic class of RNA with unknown function. To explore circRNAs systematically, we sequenced and computationally analysed human, mouse and nematode RNA. We detected thousands of well-expressed, stable circRNAs, often showing tissue/developmental-stage-specific expression. Sequence analysis indicated important regulatory functions for circRNAs. We found that a human circRNA, antisense to the cerebellar degeneration-related protein 1 transcript (CDR1as), is densely bound by microRNA (miRNA) effector complexes and harbours 63 conserved binding sites for the ancient miRNA miR-7. Further analyses indicated that CDR1as functions to bind miR-7 in neuronal tissues. Human CDR1as expression in zebrafish impaired midbrain development, similar to knocking down miR-7, suggesting that CDR1as is a miRNA antagonist with a miRNA-binding capacity ten times higher than any other known transcript. Together, our data provide evidence that circRNAs form a large class of post-transcriptional regulators. Numerous circRNAs form by head-to-tail splicing of exons, suggesting previously unrecognized regulatory potential of coding sequences.
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              Natural RNA circles function as efficient microRNA sponges.

              MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression that act by direct base pairing to target sites within untranslated regions of messenger RNAs. Recently, miRNA activity has been shown to be affected by the presence of miRNA sponge transcripts, the so-called competing endogenous RNA in humans and target mimicry in plants. We previously identified a highly expressed circular RNA (circRNA) in human and mouse brain. Here we show that this circRNA acts as a miR-7 sponge; we term this circular transcript ciRS-7 (circular RNA sponge for miR-7). ciRS-7 contains more than 70 selectively conserved miRNA target sites, and it is highly and widely associated with Argonaute (AGO) proteins in a miR-7-dependent manner. Although the circRNA is completely resistant to miRNA-mediated target destabilization, it strongly suppresses miR-7 activity, resulting in increased levels of miR-7 targets. In the mouse brain, we observe overlapping co-expression of ciRS-7 and miR-7, particularly in neocortical and hippocampal neurons, suggesting a high degree of endogenous interaction. We further show that the testis-specific circRNA, sex-determining region Y (Sry), serves as a miR-138 sponge, suggesting that miRNA sponge effects achieved by circRNA formation are a general phenomenon. This study serves as the first, to our knowledge, functional analysis of a naturally expressed circRNA.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                (View ORCID Profile)
                Journal
                Nature Reviews Cancer
                Nat Rev Cancer
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1474-175X
                1474-1768
                October 20 2020
                Article
                10.1038/s41568-020-00306-0
                33082563
                eed5a041-5c52-4439-8ffc-26fa7fa3a815
                © 2020

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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