Small non-coding RNAs are essential for transcription, translation and gene regulation in all cell types, but are particularly important in neurons, with known roles in neurodevelopment, neuroplasticity and neurological disease. Many small non-coding RNAs are directly involved in the post-transcriptional modification of other RNA species, while others are themselves substrates for modification, or are functionally modulated by modification of their target RNAs. In this review, we explore the known and potential functions of several distinct classes of small non-coding RNAs in the mammalian brain, focusing on the newly recognised interplay between the epitranscriptome and the activity of small RNAs. We discuss the potential for this relationship to influence the spatial and temporal dynamics of gene activation in the brain, and predict that further research in the field of epitranscriptomics will identify interactions between small RNAs and RNA modifications which are essential for higher order brain functions such as learning and memory.
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