Noncoding RNAs in development and teratology, with focus on effects of cannabis, cocaine, nicotine, and ethanol.
Additional Document Info
Completion of the Human Genome Project has led to the identification of a large number of transcription start sites that are not paired with protein-coding genes, supporting the growing recognition of the abundance of encoded nonprotein-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) and their importance for speciation and species-specific development. Present in both plants and animals, ncRNAs vary in size, function, primary sequence, and secondary structure. While microRNAs (miRNAs) are the best known, there are a number of other ncRNAs (long[er] nonprotein-coding RNA, pseudogenes, circular RNAs, and so on) that have been shown to play an important role in the development either directly or via networks of proteins and other ncRNAs, including modulating the impact of miRNAs. Furthermore, these ncRNAs and their developmental regulatory networks are sensitive to teratogens such as ethanol, cannabis, cocaine, and nicotine. A better understanding of the developmental role of ncRNAs and their capacity to mediate teratogenesis is a necessary step in efforts to minimize the long-term consequences of developmental exposures to drugs-of-abuse. Moreover, with increasing awareness of the prevalence of polydrug use, experimental models will need to incorporate more complex drug exposure paradigms into meaningful assessments of developmental ncRNA function.