Next Article in Journal
The Potential of Zebrafish as a Model Organism for Improving the Translation of Genetic Anticancer Nanomedicines
Next Article in Special Issue
Signaling Pathways Driving Aberrant Splicing in Cancer Cells
Previous Article in Journal
Non-Coding RNAs in Pediatric Airway Diseases
Previous Article in Special Issue
Alternative Splicing of L-type CaV1.2 Calcium Channels: Implications in Cardiovascular Diseases
Article Menu
Issue 12 (December) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessReview
Genes 2017, 8(12), 353;

Circular RNAs (circRNAs) in Health and Disease

RNA-Mediated Mechanisms of Disease Group, Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, University of Exeter Medical School, Barrack Road, Exeter EX2 5DW, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 October 2017 / Revised: 22 November 2017 / Accepted: 22 November 2017 / Published: 28 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aberrant Pre-mRNA Splicing in Disease)
Full-Text   |   PDF [724 KB, uploaded 28 November 2017]   |  


Splicing events do not always produce a linear transcript. Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a class of RNA that are emerging as key new members of the gene regulatory milieu, which are produced by back-splicing events within genes. In circRNA formation, rather than being spliced in a linear fashion, exons can be circularised by use of the 3′ acceptor splice site of an upstream exon, leading to the formation of a circular RNA species. circRNAs have been demonstrated across species and have the potential to present genetic information in new orientations distinct from their parent transcript. The importance of these RNA players in gene regulation and normal cellular homeostasis is now beginning to be recognised. They have several potential modes of action, from serving as sponges for micro RNAs and RNA binding proteins, to acting as transcriptional regulators. In accordance with an important role in the normal biology of the cell, perturbations of circRNA expression are now being reported in association with disease. Furthermore, the inherent stability of circRNAs conferred by their circular structure and exonuclease resistance, and their expression in blood and other peripheral tissues in association with endosomes and microvesicles, renders them excellent candidates as disease biomarkers. In this review, we explore the state of knowledge on this exciting class of transcripts in regulating gene expression and discuss their emerging role in health and disease. View Full-Text
Keywords: Circular RNAs; back-splicing; gene regulation; biomarkers; human disease Circular RNAs; back-splicing; gene regulation; biomarkers; human disease

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Haque, S.; Harries, L.W. Circular RNAs (circRNAs) in Health and Disease. Genes 2017, 8, 353.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Genes EISSN 2073-4425 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top