Regulatory RNAs: A Universal Language for Inter-Domain Communication

Emma Layton, Anna-Marie Fairhurst , Sam Griffiths-Jones, Richard Grencis, Ian Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In eukaryotes, microRNAs (miRNAs) have roles in development, homeostasis, disease and the immune response. Recent work has shown that plant and mammalian miRNAs also mediate cross-kingdom and cross-domain communications. However, these studies remain controversial and are lacking critical mechanistic explanations. Bacteria do not produce miRNAs themselves, and therefore it is unclear how these eukaryotic RNA molecules could function in the bacterial recipient. In this review, we compare and contrast the biogenesis and functions of regulatory RNAs in
eukaryotes and bacteria. As a result, we discovered several conserved features and homologous components in these distinct pathways. These findings enabled us to propose novel mechanisms to explain how eukaryotic miRNAs could function in bacteria. Further understanding in this area is
necessary to validate the findings of existing studies and could facilitate the use of miRNAs as novel tools for the directed remodelling of the human microbiota.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 20 Nov 2020


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