All genetic information contained within genes (DNA) ultimately is translated into proteins. However, several complex steps occur before a protein can be produced. Ribonucleic acid, or RNA, is a linear molecule that carries the necessary information to produce proteins from the corresponding genes.Circular RNAs (circRNAs) comprise a large class of RNA molecules that, unlike their linear counterparts, carry no information for the production of proteins. Instead, circRNAs seem to control the activity of certain genes. These circular molecules are abundant in the nervous system, particularly synapses — the junctions between two nerve cells that allow them to communicate — and have been observed accumulating in the brains of mice and flies as the animals age. So far, the most well-established role of circRNAs is in the regulation of another set of RNA molecules — microRNAs — that also are capable of controlling the activity of ce
The levels of circular RNAs in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease are linked to several traits and clinical measures of disease severity, a study shows. Because these circular RNAs also can be detected in cerebrospinal fluid and blood, they may hold the potential to be used as biomarkers to detect Alzheimer’s before symptoms occur. The study, “An atlas of cortical circular RNA expression in Alzheimer disease brains demonstrates clinical and pathological associations,” was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.