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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2016 Apr;17(4):205-11. doi: 10.1038/nrm.2015.32. Epub 2016 Feb 24.

The biogenesis and emerging roles of circular RNAs.

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State Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology, CAS Center for Excellence in Molecular Cell Science, Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 320 Yueyang Road, 200031 Shanghai, China.


Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are produced from precursor mRNA (pre-mRNA) back-splicing of thousands of genes in eukaryotes. Although circRNAs are generally expressed at low levels, recent findings have shed new light on their cell type-specific and tissue-specific expression and on the regulation of their biogenesis. Furthermore, the data indicate that circRNAs shape gene expression by titrating microRNAs, regulating transcription and interfering with splicing, thus effectively expanding the diversity and complexity of eukaryotic transcriptomes.

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