Evolving Insights Into RNA Modifications and Their Functional Diversity in the Brain

Nat Neurosci. 2016 Sep 27;19(10):1292-8. doi: 10.1038/nn.4378.


In this Perspective, we expand the notion of temporal regulation of RNA in the brain and propose that the qualitative nature of RNA and its metabolism, together with RNA abundance, are essential for the molecular mechanisms underlying experience-dependent plasticity. We discuss emerging concepts in the newly burgeoning field of epitranscriptomics, which are predicted to be heavily involved in cognitive function. These include activity-induced RNA modifications, RNA editing, dynamic changes in the secondary structure of RNA, and RNA localization. Each is described with an emphasis on its role in regulating the function of both protein-coding genes, as well as various noncoding regulatory RNAs, and how each might influence learning and memory.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cognition*
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • RNA / metabolism*
  • RNA, Untranslated / metabolism*


  • RNA, Untranslated
  • RNA