Molecular Biology

The long and short of RNA export

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Science  08 Jun 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6393, pp. 1083-1084
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6393.1083-b

Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are back-spliced RNA products that have regulatory roles in gene expression, and most circRNAs are enriched in the cytoplasm. Huang et al. identified protein factors that are required to export circRNAs from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. An RNA interference screen targeting some proteins that are known to export various linear RNAs in Drosophila cells showed that a RNA helicase is required for the cytoplasmic accumulation of circRNAs that are longer than 800 nucleotides. The two human homologs of this Drosophila helicase play similar roles in human cells. Surprisingly, one controls long (>1300-nucleotide) and the other controls short (<350-nucleotide) circRNAs. Future investigation of pathways that measure and export circRNAs of different lengths will shed light on circRNA functions.

Genes Dev. 10.1101/gad.314856.118 (2018).

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