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Functions of non-coding RNAs

DISCOVERIES (ISSN 2359-7232), 2015, July-September


Wu N, Yang BB. The Biological Functions of Non-coding RNAs: From a Line to a Circle. Discoveries 2015, Jul-Sep; 3(3): e48. DOI: 10.15190/d.2015.40 

Submitted: August 27, 2015; Revised: September 22, 2015; Accepted: September 23, 2015; Published September 30, 2015

GO BACK to 2015, July-September issue 

The Biological Functions of Non-coding RNAs: From a Line to a Circle  

Nan Wu (1,2) Burton B. Yang (1,2,*)

(1) Sunnybrook Research Institute, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto;

(2) Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto;


non-coding RNA, microRNA, long-non coding RNA, circular RNA, biological functions  


Non-coding RNAs have gained increasing attention, as their physiological and pathological functions are being gradually uncovered. MicroRNAs are the most well-studied ncRNAs, which play essential roles in translational repression and mRNA degradation. In contrast, long non-coding RNAs are distinguished from other small/short non-coding RNAs by length and regulate chromatin remodeling, gene transcription and posttranscriptional modifications. Recently, circular RNAs have emerged as endogenous, abundant, conserved and stable in mammalian cells. It has been demonstrated that circular RNAs can function as miRNA sponges. Other possible biological functions of circular RNAs are still under investigation. In this review, the biogenesis and biological functions of the three major types of ncRNAs, including miRNAs, lncRNAs and circRNAs, are overviewed. In addition, the role of ncRNAs in human diseases and potential clinical applications of ncRNAs are discussed. 

*Correspondence to

Burton B, Yang, PhD, Research Building, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, 2075 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON, Canada, M4N 3M5; Phone: (416) 480-5874; E-mail: byang@sri.utoronto.ca 

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News & Events Latest news from Discoveries

  • 2018 | For Authors!

    PMC highlighted that a high proportion of authors of Discoveries articles are also members of our Editorial Board. As a result, from now on and for at least 1 year, we will only accept articles from authors that are NOT members of Discoveries' Editorial Board. All articles submitted by our members will be immediately rejected until further notice (one accepted article was already rejected). 

  • 2017-2018 | PubMed inclusion News!

    Discoveries successfully passed the Scientific Quality Review by NLM-NIH for PubMedCentral and PubMed indexing. This is the first and the most important step towards PubMedCentral and PubMed indexing! The second (last) step is the Technical Review.

  • April 2016 | Faster Peer-Review

    Starting on April 13th 2016, all articles selected for a peer-review will receive the post peer-review decision within 10 days. The initial pre-screening time will remain the same (48h from the submission of the manuscript). This decision will significantly accelerate the publication, with no effect on the quality of the peer-review process.

  • February 2016 | Manuscript submission

    Discoveries is commited to excellence, quality and high editorial standards. We are receiving an increasing number of manuscripts for which the identity of the authors/corresponding author can't be verified. Please NOTE that ALL these articles were and will be immediately REJECTED. Indicating an institutional email address is the easiest way to overcome this problem! Moreover, we do not accept any pressure on our editorial board to accept a manuscript. This results in a prompt rejection of the article.

    Editorial Policies
  • January 2016 | Main Objective

    After reaching all proposed milestones until now (including being indexed by Google Scholar in 2014), Discoveries' next Aim is PubMed indexing of all its articles (already published and upcoming). There will be no charge for the submission or publication of articles before Discoveries is indexed.

  • August 2015 | Discoveries - on PubMed

    We are happy to announce that our first Discoveries articles were included in PMC and PubMed. More articles (submitted by NIH funded authors) are now processed for being included.

    Discoveries articles now on PubMed
  • April 2015 | Special Issue

    DISCOVERIES published the SPECIAL ISSUE entitled "INFLAMMATION BETWEEN DEFENSE AND DISEASE: Impact on Tissue Repair and Chronic Sickness".

    Special Issue on "Inflammation"
  • 2015 | Ischemia Collection

    DISCOVERIES launched a call for papers for a Collection of Articles with focus on "ISCHEMIA". If you are interested to submit a manuscript, please contact us at info@discoveriesjournals.org

  • September 2014 | Special Issue

    DISCOVERIES just publish the SPECIAL ISSUE entitled "CELL SECRETION & MEMBRANE FUSION" in September 2014. Initially scheduled for publication between October 2014-March 2015, this issue was successfully published earlier than scheduled. 

    Special Issue
  • April 2014 | Indexed by Google Scholar

    All our published articles are now indexed by Google Scholar! First citations to Discoveries articles are included! Search for the article's title (recommended) or the authors:

    Google Scholar Search
  • 2014 | DISCOVERIES

    DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) are now assigned to all our published manuscripts in Discoveries. DOI uniquely identifies an article and is provided by CrossRef.

  • July 2013 | Manuscript Submission

    Submit your manuscript FREE, FAST and EASY ! (in less than 1 minute)! There are NO fees for the manuscript submission or publishing of the accepted manuscripts.
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  • July 2013 | DISCOVERIES

    We are now ACCEPTING MANUSCRIPTS for publishing in DISCOVERIES. We aim publishing a small number of high impact experimental articles & reviews (around 40/year) to maintain a high impact factor. Domains of interest: all areas related to Medicine, Biology and Chemistry ...

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