Background: Although up to 90% of the eukaryotic genome can be transcribed, only
1-2% of the resultant transcripts encode for proteins, while the remaining can be classified as
non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) which mostly consist of long ncRNAs (lncRNAs) and small
ncRNAs. In overall, they have been suggested to target specific regions in the genome and play
multi-faceted roles in many important biological processes.
Summary: Recent evidence has shown that ncRNAs are abundantly expressed in the brain and
many of them are aberrantly regulated in neural disorders. Yet their functional relevance in related
physiological and pathological processes has not been adequately understood. Thus, the
elucidation of the role of ncRNAs in the brain would greatly enhance the current understanding
of neural development and ultimately lead to novel strategies to treat neural diseases. In this report,
we reviewed the structure and mechanism of lncRNAs and various classes of small
ncRNAs in brain development and neural disorders.
Perspective: We hope that extensive studies of these ncRNAs would unravel and characterize
novel molecular circuits in the brain, and facilitate the development of RNA-based therapeutics
for people suffering from neural disorders.