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Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2002 Dec;6(6):835-43.

RNomics: identification and function of small, non-messenger RNAs.

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  • 1Institute of Experimental Pathology, ZMBE, Von-Esmarch-Str. 56, 48149, Münster, Germany.


In the past few years, our knowledge about small non-mRNAs (snmRNAs) has grown exponentially. Approaches including computational and experimental RNomics have led to a plethora of novel snmRNAs, especially small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs). Members of this RNA class guide modification of ribosomal and spliceosomal RNAs. Novel targets for snoRNAs were identified such as tRNAs and potentially mRNAs, and several snoRNAs were shown to be tissue-specifically expressed. In addition, previously unknown classes of snmRNAs have been discovered. MicroRNAs and small interfering RNAs of about 21-23 nt, were shown to regulate gene expression by binding to mRNAs via antisense elements. Regulation of gene expression is exerted by degradation of mRNAs or translational regulation. snmRNAs play a variety of roles during regulation of gene expression. Moreover, the function of some snmRNAs known for decades, has been finally elucidated. Many other RNAs were identified by RNomics studies lacking known sequence and structure motifs. Future challenges in the field of RNomics include identification of the novel snmRNA's biological roles in the cell.

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