CircRNA: a rising star in plant biology

J Genet Genomics. 2022 Dec;49(12):1081-1092. doi: 10.1016/j.jgg.2022.05.004. Epub 2022 May 27.


Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are covalently closed single-stranded RNA molecules, which are widespread in eukaryotic cells. As regulatory molecules, circRNAs have various functions, such as regulating gene expression, binding miRNAs or proteins, and being translated into proteins, which are important for cell proliferation and cell differentiation, individual growth and development, as well as many other biological processes. However, compared with that in animal models, studies of circRNAs in plants lags behind and, particularly, the regulatory mechanisms of biogenesis and molecular functions of plant circRNAs remain elusive. Recent studies have shown that circRNAs are wide spread in plants with tissue- or development-specific expression patterns and are responsive to a variety of environmental stresses. In this review, we summarize these advances, focusing on the regulatory mechanisms of biogenesis, molecular and biological functions of circRNAs, and the methods for investigating circRNAs. We also discuss the challenges and the prospects of plant circRNA studies.

Keywords: Methodologies in circRNA studies; Plant circRNA; Roles of circRNA; circRNA biogenesis; circRNA regulation.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • MicroRNAs* / genetics
  • MicroRNAs* / metabolism
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA, Circular* / genetics


  • RNA, Circular
  • RNA
  • MicroRNAs