Small non coding RNAs are a group of very different RNA molecules, present in virtually all cells, with a wide spectrum of regulatory functions which include RNA modification and regulation of protein synthesis. They have been isolated and characterized in all organisms and tissues, from Archaeobacteria to mammals. In mammalian brain there are a number of these small molecules, which are involved in neuronal differentiation as well as, possibly, in learning and memory. In this manuscript, we analyze the present knowledge about the function of the most important groups of small non-coding RNA present in brain: small nucleolar RNAs, small cytoplasmic RNAs, and microRNAs. The last ones, in particular, appear to be critical for dictating neuronal cell identity during development and to play an important role in neurite growth, synaptic development and neuronal plasticity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience