PerspectiveMolecular Biology

Coding functions of “noncoding” RNAs

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Science  06 Mar 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6482, pp. 1074-1075
DOI: 10.1126/science.aba6117

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Summary

High-throughput RNA sequencing studies have revealed pervasive transcription of the human genome, which generates a variety of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) that have no apparent protein-coding functions (1). Subsequent studies that globally monitor translation have similarly identified numerous translation events outside of canonical protein-coding sequences (24), suggesting pervasive translation of the transcriptome. However, only a few examples of functional peptides encoded by RNA regions previously thought to be noncoding have been reported to regulate distinct biological processes (59). On page 1140 of this issue, Chen et al. (10) provide evidence for an expanded repertoire of functional peptides encoded by lncRNAs and other “untranslated” RNA regions.

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