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Novel roles of non-coding brain RNAs in health and disease

DOI: 10.3389/fnmol.2014.00055

Keywords: MicroRNAs, long non-coding RNAs, Central Nervous System, cholinergic signaling, Schizophrenia, Epilepsy, ischemic stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, repeat expansion diseases

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Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), and in particular microRNAs (miRNAs) are rapidly becoming the focus of research interest in numerous basic and translational fields, and their importance for many aspects in brain functioning reveals novel roles and merits special discussion. The wide-scope, multi-targeted and highly efficient manner of ncRNA regulatory activities draws attention to this topic by many, but the available research tools and experimental protocols are still insufficient, and their importance for many aspects in brain functioning keeps changing. Much of the research effort in this field has initially been devoted to cancer research, but the regulatory role of ncRNAs is considered global. Consequently, molecular neuroscientists picked it up as well, although the brain presents special challenges for ncRNA and miRNA research. To reflect the rapid recent development of ncRNA and miRNA research in the nervous system, this Research Topic eBook is focused on the search for and exploration of those ncRNAs and miRNAs whose activities modulate the multi-leveled functions of the eukaryotic brain in health and disease. It strives to cover the state of the art expertise and describe novel roles for known and recently identified ncRNAs and miRNAs and cover experimental approaches for identifying and establishing ncRNA-target relationships, reports of the affected pathways, inherited and acquired changes in ncRNA functioning and the use of ncRNA mimics and blockade tools for interference with their functions in health and disease. This eBook covers several key topics of interest in the molecular neuroscience field that try to bridge the gap between ncRNAs, miRNAs and the wider research community. As researchers, we are interested in advancing this field for the improvement of both basic and translational studies aimed at progressing towards better human health and wellbeing. Therefore, this volume is opened by a review contributed by the Gerhard Schratt group that presents a comprehensive characterization of the nuclear miRNA repertoire of post-mitotic neurons (Khudayberdiev et al., 2013). This is followed by a thorough discussion of the flexibility and stability of miRNAs in brain development and function that was written by the Christophe Beclin group (Follert et al., 2014) and by insights on the functional interactions between miRNAs and copy number variations in the aging brain contributed by the Ronald Bontrop group (Persengiev et al., 2013). Yet other authors focused their articles on particular neuronal roles of specific miRNAs. Thus, Alexander Murashov


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