Send to

Choose Destination
Trends Neurosci. 2016 Sep;39(9):597-604. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2016.06.006. Epub 2016 Jul 18.

Circular RNAs in Brain and Other Tissues: A Functional Enigma.

Author information

Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology, Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany; Department of Biology, South University of Science and Technology of China, Shenzhen, China. Electronic address:
Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt, Germany. Electronic address:


Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are RNAs with a covalently closed loop structure that have recently regained the attention of biologists. Using deep RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) coupled with novel bioinformatic approaches, genome-wide studies have detected a large number of circRNAs, many of which are abundant, stable, and well conserved during evolution. With few exceptions, the function of most circRNAs remains elusive. Several recent studies have shown that circRNAs are more enriched in neuronal tissues and are often derived from genes specific for neuronal and synaptic function. Moreover, circRNA expression is regulated during neuronal development and by synaptic plasticity, suggesting specific neuronal functions. In this review, we discuss recent advances in the detection, biogenesis, and potential functions of circRNAs, with a particular focus on brain tissues.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center