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RNA Biol. 2020 Mar 18:1-18. doi: 10.1080/15476286.2020.1737442. [Epub ahead of print]

Emerging roles of novel small non-coding regulatory RNAs in immunity and cancer.

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Centro De Investigación Del Cáncer and Instituto De Biología Molecular Y Celular Del Cáncer, Consejo Superior De Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) - University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain.


The term small non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) refers to all those RNAs that even without encoding for a protein, can play important functional roles. Transfer RNA and ribosomal RNA-derived fragments (tRFs and rRFs, respectively) are an emerging class of ncRNAs originally considered as simple degradation products, which though play important roles in stress responses, signalling, or gene expression. They control all levels of gene expression regulating transcription and translation and affecting RNA processing and maturation. They have been linked to pivotal cellular processes such as self-renewal, differentiation, and proliferation. For this reason, mis-regulation of this novel class of ncRNAs can lead to various pathological processes such as neurodegenerative and development diseases, metabolism and immune system disorders, and cancer. In this review, we summarise the classification, biogenesis, and functions of tRFs and rRFs with a special focus on their role in immunity and cancer.


Transfer RNA fragments; cancer; immune system; rRFs; ribosomal RNA fragments; stress-induced tRNA cleavage; tRFs; tRNA cleavage; translation initiation

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