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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2013 Nov;70(21):4141-55. doi: 10.1007/s00018-013-1335-z. Epub 2013 Apr 16.

Non-coding RNAs in the development of sensory organs and related diseases.

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Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine, Via Pietro Castellino, 111, 80131, Naples, Italy,


Genomes are transcribed well beyond the conventionally annotated protein-encoding genes and produce many thousands of regulatory non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). In the last few years, ncRNAs, especially microRNAs and long non-coding RNA, have received increasing attention because of their implication in the function of chromatin-modifying complexes and in the regulation of transcriptional and post-transcriptional events. The morphological events and the genetic networks responsible for the development of sensory organs have been well delineated and therefore sensory organs have provided a useful scenario to address the role of ncRNAs. In this review, we summarize the current information on the importance of microRNAs and long non-coding RNAs during the development of the eye, inner ear, and olfactory system in vertebrates. We will also discuss those cases in which alteration of ncRNA expression has been linked to pathological conditions affecting these organs.

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