RNAs as Regulators of Cellular Matchmaking

Nikita Fernandes, J. Ross Buchan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


RNA molecules are increasingly being identified as facilitating or impeding the interaction of proteins and nucleic acids, serving as so-called scaffolds or decoys. Long non-coding RNAs have been commonly implicated in such roles, particularly in the regulation of nuclear processes including chromosome topology, regulation of chromatin state and gene transcription, and assembly of nuclear biomolecular condensates such as paraspeckles. Recently, an increased awareness of cytoplasmic RNA scaffolds and decoys has begun to emerge, including the identification of non-coding regions of mRNAs that can also function in a scaffold-like manner to regulate interactions of nascently translated proteins. Collectively, cytoplasmic RNA scaffolds and decoys are now implicated in processes such as mRNA translation, decay, protein localization, protein degradation and assembly of cytoplasmic biomolecular condensates such as P-bodies. Here, we review examples of RNA scaffolds and decoys in both the nucleus and cytoplasm, illustrating common themes, the suitability of RNA to such roles, and future challenges in identifying and better understanding RNA scaffolding and decoy functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number634146
JournalFrontiers in Molecular Biosciences
StatePublished - Apr 9 2021


  • 3′UTR
  • RNA decoys
  • RNA scaffolds
  • lncRNA
  • mRNA
  • nascent protein interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Biology


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