A key role for circular RNA in muscular cells

Irene Bozzoni, Department of Biology and Biotechnology "Charles Darwin"
Life Sciences

Researchers of the Biology and Biotechnology Department "Charles Darwin" of Sapienza University of Rome, directed by Prof. Irene Bozzoni, in collaboration with the Max Delbruck Center in Berlin and the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Milan, have identified circular RNAs in muscle cells and have developed a strategy to analyze their function.

They found that one of these molecules - circ-ZNF609 - is involved in controlling cell proliferation and could play an important role in the development of tumors.

Moreover, the circular circ-ZNF609 RNA has a very peculiar feature: it can be translated into a protein, a characteristic that was formerly believed to be the exclusive prerogative of linear RNAs (the messenger RNAs). The different translational regulation of circular RNAs compared to that of messenger RNAs reveals a further level of complexity in cellular response to external stimuli.

"This discovery”, explains Irene Bozzoni, “adds new insight into the mechanisms underlying the function of informational macromolecules and allows us to start a new phase of studies based on the study of cell proliferation as well as on new mechanisms of protein biosynthesis".


Team Leader
Irene Bozzoni
Dip. di Biologia e biotecnologie "Charles Darwin"