Long and short non-coding RNA and radiation response: a review.

Affiliation

May JM(1), Bylicky M(1), Chopra S(1), Coleman CN(2), Aryankalayil MJ(3).
Author information:
(1)Radiation Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland.
(2)Radiation Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland; Radiation Research Program, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, Maryland.
(3)Radiation Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Once thought of as arising from "junk DNA," noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) have emerged as key molecules in cellular processes and response to stress. From diseases such as cancer, coronary artery disease, and diabetes to the effects of ionizing radiation (IR), ncRNAs play important roles in disease progression and as biomarkers of damage. Noncoding RNAs regulate cellular processes by competitively binding DNA, mRNA, proteins, and other ncRNAs. Through these interactions, specific ncRNAs can modulate the radiosensitivity of cells and serve as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers of radiation damage, whether from incidental exposure in radiotherapy or in accidental exposure scenarios. Analysis of RNA expression after radiation exposure has shown alterations not only in mRNAs, but also in ncRNAs (primarily miRNA, circRNA, and lncRNA), implying an important role in cellular stress response. Due to their abundance and stability in serum and other biofluids, ncRNAs also have great potential as minimally invasive biomarkers with advantages over current biodosimetry methods. Several studies have examined changes in ncRNA expression profiles in response to IR and other forms of oxidative stress. Furthermore, some studies have reported modulation of radiosensitivity by altering expression levels of these ncRNAs. This review discusses the roles of ncRNAs in the radiation response and evaluates prior research on ncRNAs as biomarkers of radiation damage. Future directions and applications of ncRNAs in radiation research are introduced, including the potential for a clinical ncRNA assay for assessing radiation damage and for the therapeutic use of RNA interference (RNAi).