An emerging function of circRNA-miRNAs-mRNA axis in human diseases

Dawei Rong, Handong Sun, Zhouxiao Li, Shuheng Liu, Chaoxi Dong, Kai Fu, Weiwei Tang and Hongyong Cao _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:73271-73281. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.19154

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Dawei Rong1,*, Handong Sun3,*, Zhouxiao Li1, Shuheng Liu2, Chaoxi Dong1, Kai Fu1, Weiwei Tang1 and Hongyong Cao1

1Department of General Surgery, Nanjing First Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China

2Department of Neurosurgery, The First affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China

3Department of Oncology Surgery, Nanjing First Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China

*Indicates both are first authors

Correspondence to:

Hongyong Cao, email: [email protected]

Weiwei Tang, email: [email protected]

Keywords: circular RNA, back-splicing, microRNA sponge, tumorgenesis

Received: February 25, 2017     Accepted: May 01, 2017     Published: July 10, 2017


Circular RNAs (circRNAs), a novel class of long noncoding RNAs, are characterized by a covalently closed continuous loop without 5’ or 3’ polarities structure and have been widely found in thousands of lives including plants, animals and human beings. Utilizing the high-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) technology, recent findings have indicated thata great deal of circRNAs, which are endogenous, stable, widely expressed in mammalian cells, often exhibit cell type-specific, tissue-specific or developmental-stage-specific expression. Evidences are arising that some circRNAs might regulate microRNA (miRNA) function as microRNA sponges and play a significant role in transcriptional control. circRNAs associate with related miRNAs and the circRNA-miRNA axes are involved in a serious of disease pathways such as apoptosis, vascularization, invasion and metastasis. In this review, we generalize and analyse the aspects including synthesis, characteristics, classification, and several regulatory functions of circRNAs and highlight the association between circRNAs dysregulation by circRNA-miRNA-mRNA axis and sorts of diseases including cancer- related and non-cancer diseases.”

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