- Prof. Brian D. Adams
- Department of RNA Science at The Brain Institute of America, New Haven, USA.
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- Prof. Kazunari K. Yokoyama
- Graduate Institute of Medicine, Center of Excellence for Environmental Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
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Special Issue Introduction
The discovery that non-coding RNA genes are responsible for maintaining a key regulatory balance within animal cells that in turn prevents the onset of tumorigenesis and metastatic progression has been one of the largest scientific breakthroughs within the field of biological sciences. Specifically, long-noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are epigenetic regulators that dampen stochastic gene expression, recruit specific chromatin modifiers to particular genomic loci, and communicate with other non-coding RNAs that result in the modulation of transcriptional and post-transcriptional processes that promotes the maintenance of chromatin integrity.
Specifically, lcRNAs are a divergent class of ncRNA molecule greater than 200 nt in length that lack protein-coding capacity, and are initially considered a genetic byproduct because of the absence of biological function. However, when lncRNAs are aberrantly expressed the checkpoints that maintain cellular growth and differentiation processes fail, supporting a process known as epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT).
EMT, is the transformative process by which cells loose epithelial polarity and become motile, thereby enabling epithelial cells to transit to a mesenchymal phenotype, to intravasate into vascular systems, and extravasate to distant organ sites. Given EMT is the rate limiting step at which a tumor cell becomes metastatic, resulting in fatality, many investigators have dedicated their efforts in understanding the cell signaling cues that initiate and support EMT.
Recently, a number of studies have identified lncRNAs that control the cellular processes related to EMT, and moreover modulate the phenotypic observation of metastatic dissemination in vivo. Therefore, this special issue focuses on studies that showcase how certain lncRNAs can modulate or disrupt the initiating processes of metastasis (i.e., modulate epithelial cell polarity, anchorage-independent growth, wound healing, migration, and invasion). By elucidating how these lncRNAs control the biological processes supporting metastatic progression, therapies that target this process can be developed in order to reduce tumor-related deaths associated with aggressive carcinomas.
KeywordslncRNA, long noncoding RNA, noncoding RNA, cancer, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, mesenchymal-epithelial transition, chromatin regulation, epigenetic control, malignancy, precancerous state
Submission Deadline31 May 2021