Journal: Molecular Cell
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Circular secrets of the immune response
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Genome sequencing has revealed a potential function for circular RNAs in the immune response.
Circular RNAs are a type of RNA — molecules that regulate genetic activity — that has formed in a circle rather than a straight line. Their function in cells is not entirely clear as the closed loop reduces the likelihood of reactions with other molecules.
A team including researchers from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences used all-human genome sequencing to investigate how circular RNAs form under different conditions. They found that, during viral infections, a drop in the number of two antibodies, the proteins NF90 and NF110, in the nucleus led to a decrease in the number of circular RNA. The team suggest that the two proteins regulate the growth of circular RNA, with which they coordinate a response to viral infections.
Further investigations into the formation and function of circular RNAs may reveal their wider role in immunity.
- Molecular Cell 67, 214–227 (2017). doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2017.05.023