Insights Into the Role of CircRNAs: Biogenesis, Characterization, Functional, and Clinical Impact in Human Malignancies

Sabah Nisar, Ajaz A. Bhat, Mayank Singh, Thasni Karedath, Arshi Rizwan, Sheema Hashem, Puneet Bagga, Ravinder Reddy, Farrukh Jamal, Shahab Uddin, Gyan Chand, Davide Bedognetti, Wael El-Rifai, Michael P. Frenneaux, Muzafar A. Macha, Ikhlak Ahmed, Mohammad Haris

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are an evolutionarily conserved novel class of non-coding endogenous RNAs (ncRNAs) found in the eukaryotic transcriptome, originally believed to be aberrant RNA splicing by-products with decreased functionality. However, recent advances in high-throughput genomic technology have allowed circRNAs to be characterized in detail and revealed their role in controlling various biological and molecular processes, the most essential being gene regulation. Because of the structural stability, high expression, availability of microRNA (miRNA) binding sites and tissue-specific expression, circRNAs have become hot topic of research in RNA biology. Compared to the linear RNA, circRNAs are produced differentially by backsplicing exons or lariat introns from a pre-messenger RNA (mRNA) forming a covalently closed loop structure missing 3′ poly-(A) tail or 5′ cap, rendering them immune to exonuclease-mediated degradation. Emerging research has identified multifaceted roles of circRNAs as miRNA and RNA binding protein (RBP) sponges and transcription, translation, and splicing event regulators. CircRNAs have been involved in many human illnesses, including cancer and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, due to their aberrant expression in different pathological conditions. The functional versatility exhibited by circRNAs enables them to serve as potential diagnostic or predictive biomarkers for various diseases. This review discusses the properties, characterization, profiling, and the diverse molecular mechanisms of circRNAs and their use as potential therapeutic targets in different human malignancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number617281
JournalFrontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
StatePublished - Feb 5 2021


  • RNA binding protein
  • circRNA
  • drug resistance
  • miRNA sponges
  • signaling pathways
  • tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Insights Into the Role of CircRNAs: Biogenesis, Characterization, Functional, and Clinical Impact in Human Malignancies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this