NONCODE is an integrated knowledge database dedicated to non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), that is to say, RNAs that function without being translated into proteins. All ncRNAs in NONCODE were filtered automatically from literature and GenBank, and were later manually curated. The distinctive features of NONCODE are as follows: (i) the ncRNAs in NONCODE include almost all the types of ncRNAs, except transfer RNAs and ribosomal RNAs. (ii) All ncRNA sequences and their related information (e.g.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) represent an important class of small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs) that regulate gene expression by targeting messenger RNAs. However, assigning miRNAs to their regulatory target genes remains technically challenging. Recently, high-throughput CLIP-Seq and degradome sequencing (Degradome-Seq) methods have been applied to identify the sites of Argonaute interaction and miRNA cleavage sites, respectively.
Eukaryotes produce functionally diverse classes of small RNAs (20-25 nt). These include microRNAs (miRNAs), which act as regulatory factors during growth and development, and short-interfering RNAs (siRNAs), which function in several epigenetic and post-transcriptional silencing systems. The Arabidopsis Small RNA Project (ASRP) seeks to characterize and functionally analyze the major classes of endogenous small RNAs in plants. The ASRP database provides a repository for sequences of small RNAs cloned from various Arabidopsis genotypes and tissues.
Unlike tRNAs and microRNAs, both classes of snoRNAs, which direct two distinct types of chemical modifications of uracil residues, have proved to be surprisingly difficult to find in genomic sequences. Most computational approaches so far have explicitly used the fact that snoRNAs predominantly target ribosomal RNAs and spliceosomal RNAs. The target is specified by a short stretch of sequence complementarity between the snoRNA and its target.
Advances in high-throughput next-generation sequencing technology have reshaped the transcriptomic research landscape. However, exploration of these massive data remains a daunting challenge. In this study, we describe a novel database, deepBase, which we have developed to facilitate the comprehensive annotation and discovery of small RNAs from transcriptomic data.
With few exceptions, current methods for short read mapping make use of simple seed heuristics to speed up the search. Most of the underlying matching models neglect the necessity to allow not only mismatches, but also insertions and deletions. Current evaluations indicate, however, that very different error models apply to the novel high-throughput sequencing methods. While the most frequent error-type in Illumina reads are mismatches, reads produced by 454's GS FLX predominantly contain insertions and deletions (indels).
Cloning and sequencing is the method of choice for small regulatory RNA identification. Using deep sequencing technologies one can now obtain up to a billion nucleotides--and tens of millions of small RNAs--from a single library. Careful computational analyses of such libraries enabled the discovery of miRNAs, rasiRNAs, piRNAs, and 21U RNAs. Given the large number of sequences that can be obtained from each individual sample, deep sequencing may soon become an alternative to oligonucleotide microarray technology for mRNA expression profiling.
RNA silencing is a complex, highly conserved mechanism mediated by small RNAs (sRNAs), such as microRNAs (miRNAs), that is known to be involved in a diverse set of biological functions including development, pathogen control, genome maintenance and response to environmental change. Advances in next generation sequencing technologies are producing increasingly large numbers of sRNA reads per sample at a fraction of the cost of previous methods.
Plant small RNAs (smRNAs), which include microRNAs (miRNAs), short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and trans-acting siRNAs (ta-siRNAs), are emerging as significant components of epigenetic processes and of gene networks involved in development and in homeostasis. Here we present a bioinformatics resource for cereal crops, the Cereal Small RNA Database (CSRDB), consisting of large-scale datasets of maize and rice smRNA sequences generated by high-throughput pyrosequencing.
Small RNA research is a rapidly growing field. Apart from microRNAs, which are important regulators of gene expression, other types of functional small RNA molecules have been reported in animals and plants. MicroRNAs are important in host-microbe interactions and parasite microRNAs might modulate the innate immunity of the host. Furthermore, small RNAs can be detected in bodily fluids making them attractive non-invasive biomarker candidates.