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Review
, 39 (5), 367-74

Incredible RNA: Dual Functions of Coding and Noncoding

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Review

Incredible RNA: Dual Functions of Coding and Noncoding

Jin-Wu Nam et al. Mol Cells.

Abstract

Since the RNA world hypothesis was proposed, a large number of regulatory noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) have been identified in many species, ranging from microorganisms to mammals. During the characterization of these newly discovered RNAs, RNAs having both coding and noncoding functions were discovered, and these were considered bifunctional RNAs. The recent use of computational and high-throughput experimental approaches has revealed increasing evidence of various sources of bifunctional RNAs, such as protein-coding mRNAs with a noncoding isoform and long ncRNAs bearing a small open reading frame. Therefore, the genomic diversity of Janus-faced RNA molecules that have dual characteristics of coding and noncoding indicates that the functional roles of RNAs have to be revisited in cells on a genome-wide scale. Such studies would allow us to further understand the complex gene-regulatory network in cells. In this review, we discuss three major genomic sources of bifunctional RNAs and present a handful of examples of bifunctional RNA along with their functional roles.

Keywords: bifunctional RNA; lncRNA; sORF.

Figures

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.
Four relevant scenarios of the generation of RNAs or genes with coding and noncoding functions. (A) lncRNAs with sORF. (B) Protein-coding mRNAs having non-coding functions. (C) Coding and noncoding isoforms of protein-coding genes by alternative splicing. (D) Allele-specific expression of coding and noncoding isoforms.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.
Ribosome-association signals on lncRNAs. (A) Strong RPF signals in a sORF of MALAT1 in HeLa cells and Malat1 in mouse neutrophils are shown. Yellow and green bars are EpsG protein and EpsG superfamily domains, respectively, detected from the NCBI Conserved Domain Database. (B) RPF signals in the lncRNA RP11-21N3_1 in HeLa cells.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.
An example of coding and noncoding isoforms from the human SRA gene with 5 exons, which is conserved in the mouse. The human SRA gene has 2 alternative start codons, whereas mouse SRA has 1 start codon and 2 stop codons. The gene produces both coding and noncoding isoforms, with the first intron retained in both human and mouse.

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