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This article is part of the supplement: Problems and tools in the systems biology of the neuronal cell

Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Non coding RNA and brain

Carlo Presutti1, Jessica Rosati2, Sara Vincenti1 and Sergio Nasi2*

Author Affiliations

1 Dipartimento di Genetica e Biologia Molecolare, Moro 5, 00185 Roma, Italy

2 IBPM CNR, Università La Sapienza, P.le A. Moro 5, 00185 Roma, Italy

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BMC Neuroscience 2006, 7(Suppl 1):S5  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-7-S1-S5

Published: 30 October 2006


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.