Special Issue "Functions of Non-coding DNA Regions"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2021).
The term “non-coding DNA” has been established for decades, and, from the beginning, it has been clear that DNA in the genome can serve other functions than encoding the amino-acid sequences of proteins. These other functions include gene regulation—at the levels of transcription, splicing, RNA stability and translation—and maintenance of the chromosomal structure, in particular in the process of DNA replication and recombination, but also during the interphase.
Research in recent decades has begun revealing fascinating inter-relationships between the regulatory and structural roles of non-coding DNA regions, with epigenetic modifications as the key intermediary. An epigenetic modification can affect the DNA region itself or the embedding chromatin segment, leading to a situation where they are usually considered together. Notably, epigenetic modifications include changes in the three-dimensional (3D) structure of the chromatin, leading to non-local interactions, which is are essential feature of information processing (gene regulation) by the genome. Many non-coding DNA regions are transcribed, resulting in several types of non-coding RNAs.
Current research focuses on dynamical aspects of 3D chromatin folding, leading to the notion of the four-dimensional (4D) genome. It is clear that a better understanding of the functions of the non-coding genome requires integration of multiple data types and formulation of quantitative predictive models.
A large fraction of non-coding DNA regions is of retroviral origin, with evidence that many such regions are functional. This constitutes a link between non-coding DNA regions, genetic variation and evolution. Not surprisingly, variation in non-coding regions can lead to diseases.
For this special issue of IJMS, we encourage submissions of original research articles and focused reviews on all aspects of functions of non-coding DNA regions.
Dr. Michał Dąbrowski
Manuscript Submission Information
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- chromatin loop
- chromatin folding
- origin of replication
- non-coding RNA