Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Neurosci. 2015 Apr;18(4):603-610. doi: 10.1038/nn.3975. Epub 2015 Feb 25.

Neural circular RNAs are derived from synaptic genes and regulated by development and plasticity.

Author information

Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology, Max-Delbrueck-Center for Molecular Medicine, Robert-Roessle-Str. 10, 13125 Berlin, Germany.
Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Department of Synaptic Plasticity, Max-von-Laue Strasse 4, 60438 Frankfurt, Germany.
Contributed equally


Circular RNAs (circRNAs) have re-emerged as an interesting RNA species. Using deep RNA profiling in different mouse tissues, we observed that circRNAs were substantially enriched in brain and a disproportionate fraction of them were derived from host genes that encode synaptic proteins. Moreover, on the basis of separate profiling of the RNAs localized in neuronal cell bodies and neuropil, circRNAs were, on average, more enriched in the neuropil than their host gene mRNA isoforms. Using high-resolution in situ hybridization, we visualized circRNA punctae in the dendrites of neurons. Consistent with the idea that circRNAs might regulate synaptic function during development, many circRNAs changed their abundance abruptly at a time corresponding to synaptogenesis. In addition, following a homeostatic downscaling of neuronal activity many circRNAs exhibited substantial up- or downregulation. Together, our data indicate that brain circRNAs are positioned to respond to and regulate synaptic function.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center