Emerging roles of non-coding RNAs in brain evolution, development, plasticity and disease

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2012 Jul 20;13(8):528-41. doi: 10.1038/nrn3234.


Novel classes of small and long non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are being characterized at a rapid pace, driven by recent paradigm shifts in our understanding of genomic architecture, regulation and transcriptional output, as well as by innovations in sequencing technologies and computational and systems biology. These ncRNAs can interact with DNA, RNA and protein molecules; engage in diverse structural, functional and regulatory activities; and have roles in nuclear organization and transcriptional, post-transcriptional and epigenetic processes. This expanding inventory of ncRNAs is implicated in mediating a broad spectrum of processes including brain evolution, development, synaptic plasticity and disease pathogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain Diseases / genetics*
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • RNA, Untranslated / physiology*


  • RNA, Untranslated