List of RNAs

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Ribonucleic acid (RNA) occurs in different forms within organisms. It serves many different roles. Listed here are the types of RNA, grouped by role. Abbreviations for the different types of RNA are listed and explained.

By role[edit]

RNAs involved in protein synthesis
Type Abbr. Function Distribution Ref.
Messenger RNA mRNA Codes for protein All organisms
Ribosomal RNA rRNA Translation All organisms
Signal recognition particle RNA 7SL RNA or SRP RNA Membrane integration All organisms [1]
Transfer RNA tRNA Translation All organisms
Transfer-messenger RNA tmRNA Rescuing stalled ribosomes Bacteria [2]
RNAs involved in post-transcriptional modification or DNA replication
Type Abbr. Function Distribution Ref.
Small nuclear RNA snRNA Splicing and other functions Eukaryotes and archaea [3]
Small nucleolar RNA snoRNA Nucleotide modification of RNAs Eukaryotes and archaea [4]
SmY RNA SmY mRNA trans-splicing Nematodes [5]
Small Cajal body-specific RNA scaRNA Type of snoRNA; Nucleotide modification of RNAs
Guide RNA gRNA mRNA nucleotide modification Kinetoplastid mitochondria [6]
Ribonuclease P RNase P tRNA maturation All organisms [7]
Ribonuclease MRP RNase MRP rRNA maturation, DNA replication Eukaryotes [8]
Y RNA RNA processing, DNA replication Animals [9]
Telomerase RNA Component TERC Telomere synthesis Most eukaryotes [10]
Spliced Leader RNA SL RNA mRNA trans-splicing, RNA processing
Regulatory RNAs
Type Abbr. Function Distribution Ref.
Antisense RNA aRNA, asRNA Transcriptional attenuation / mRNA degradation / mRNA stabilisation / Translation block All organisms [11][12]
Cis-natural antisense transcript cis-NAT Gene regulation
CRISPR RNA crRNA Resistance to parasites, by targeting their DNA Bacteria and archaea [13]
Long noncoding RNA lncRNA Regulation of gene transcription, epigenetic regulation Eukaryotes
MicroRNA miRNA Gene regulation Most eukaryotes [14]
Piwi-interacting RNA piRNA Transposon defense, maybe other functions Most animals [15][16]
Small interfering RNA siRNA Gene regulation Most eukaryotes [17]
Short hairpin RNA shRNA Gene regulation Most eukaryotes [18]
Trans-acting siRNA tasiRNA Gene regulation Land plants [19]
Repeat associated siRNA rasiRNA Type of piRNA; transposon defense Drosophila [20]
7SK RNA 7SK negatively regulating CDK9/cyclin T complex
Enhancer RNA eRNA Gene regulation [21]

Parasitic RNAs
Type Function Distribution Ref.
Retrotransposon Self-propagating Eukaryotes and some bacteria [22]
Viral genome Information carrier Double-stranded RNA viruses, positive-sense RNA viruses, negative-sense RNA viruses, many satellite viruses and reverse transcribing viruses
Viroid Self-propagating Infected plants [23]
Satellite RNA Self-propagating Infected cells
Other RNAs
Type Abbr. Function Distribution Ref.
Vault RNA vRNA, vtRNA Expulsion of xenobiotics (conjectured) [24]

RNA abbreviations[edit]

Abbr. Name Family Description Ref.
ncRNA non coding RNA -
nmRNA non messenger RNA - synonym of ncRNA
sRNA small RNA - synonym of ncRNA
smnRNA small non messenger RNA - synonym of ncRNA
tRNA transfer RNA RF00005
sRNA soluble RNA - synonym of tRNA
mRNA messenger RNA -
pcRNA protein coding RNA - synonym of mRNA
rRNA ribosomal RNA multiple families
5S rRNA 5S ribosomal RNA RF00001
5.8S rRNA 5.8S ribosomal RNA RF00002
SSU rRNA small subunit ribosomal RNA CL00111
LSU rRNA large subunit ribosomal RNA CL00112
NoRC RNA nucleolar remodeling complex associated RNA RF01518
pRNA promoter RNA RF01518 synonym of NoRC RNA
6S RNA 6S RNA RF00013
SsrS RNA RF00013 synonym of 6S RNA
aRNA antisense RNA - synonym of asRNA
asRNA antisense RNA -
asmiRNA antisense micro RNA -
cis-NAT cis-natural antisense transcript - Natural antisense transcripts transcribed from the same genomic locus as their target but from the opposite DNA strand and form perfect pairs
tracrRNA trans-activating crRNA -
CRISPR RNA CRISPR-Cas RNA multiple families
DD RNA DNA damage response RNA - RNA that activates DNA damage response
diRNA DSB-induced small RNAs -
dsRNA double stranded RNA -
endo-siRNA endogenous small interfering RNA -
exRNA extracellular RNA -
gRNA guide RNA -
hc-siRNA heterochromatic small interfering RNA -
hcsiRNA heterochromatic small interfering RNA - synonym of hc-siRNA
hnRNA heterogeneous nuclear RNA - synonym for pre-mRNA (in the strict sense, it may include nuclear RNA transcripts that do not end up as cytoplasmic mRNA)
RNAi RNA interference - Process in which RNA inhibit gene expression or translation, by neutralizing targeted mRNA molecules
lincRNA long intergenic non-coding RNA -
lncRNA long non coding RNA -
miRNA micro RNA multiple families
mrpRNA mitochondrial RNA processing ribonuclease - synonym of RNase MRP
nat-siRNA natural antisense short interfering RNA - synonym of natsiRNA
natsiRNA natural antisense short interfering RNA - Endogenous RNA regulators, between 21 and 24 nt in length, and are generated from complementary mRNA transcripts which are further processed into siRNA
OxyS RNA oxidative stress response RNA RF00035 Small non coding RNA which is induced in response to oxidative stress in Escherichia coli
piRNA piwi-interacting RNA multiple families Small RNAs that form RNA-protein complexes with piwi proteins in animal cells
qiRNA QDE-2 interfering RNA -
rasiRNA Repeat associated siRNA - Small RNA that is involved in the RNA interference pathway, a type of piRNA
RNase MRP mitochondrial RNA processing ribonuclease RF00030
RNase P ribonuclease P RF00010 A type of ribonuclease which cleaves RNA
scaRNA small Cajal body-specific RNA RF00553
scnRNA small-scan RNA -
scRNA small cytoplasmic RNA -
scRNA small conditional RNA -
SgrS RNA sugar transport-related sRNA RF00534 Small RNA that is activated by SgrR in Escherichia coli during glucose-phosphate stress
shRNA short hairpin RNA -
siRNA small interfering RNA -
SL RNA spliced leader RNA multiple families
SmY RNA mRNA trans-splicing RF01844 Small nuclear RNAs found in some species of nematode worms, thought to be involved in mRNA trans-splicing
snoRNA small nucleolar RNA multiple families
snRNA small nuclear RNA multiple families
snRNP small nuclear ribonucleic proteins -
SRP RNA signal recognition particle RNA CL00003
ssRNA single stranded RNA -
stRNA small temporal RNA -
tasiRNA trans-acting siRNA -
tmRNA transfer-messenger RNA RF00023 Bacterial RNA molecule with dual tRNA-like and messenger RNA-like properties
uRNA U spliceosomal RNA multiple families
vRNA vault RNA - synonym of vtRNA
vtRNA vault RNA RF00006
Xist RNA X-inactive specific transcript
Y RNA Y RNA RF00019 Components of the Ro60 ribonucleoprotein particle and necessary for DNA replication through interactions with chromatin and initiation proteins
NATs natural antisense transcripts - Natural antisense transcripts encoded within a cell that have transcript complementarity to other RNA transcripts
pre-mRNA precursor messenger RNA - Immature single strand of messenger RNA
circRNA circular RNA -
msRNA multicopy, single-stranded RNA Component of retrons [25]

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ Gillet R, Felden B (2001). "Emerging views on tmRNA-mediated protein tagging and ribosome rescue". Molecular Microbiology. 42 (4): 879–85. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2958.2001.02701.x. PMID 11737633.
  3. ^ Thore S, Mayer C, Sauter C, Weeks S, Suck D (2003). "Crystal Structures of the Pyrococcus abyssi Sm Core and Its Complex with RNA". J. Biol. Chem. 278 (2): 1239–47. doi:10.1074/jbc.M207685200. PMID 12409299.
  4. ^ Kiss T (2001). "Small nucleolar RNA-guided post-transcriptional modification of cellular RNAs". The EMBO Journal. 20 (14): 3617–22. doi:10.1093/emboj/20.14.3617. PMC 125535. PMID 11447102.
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  7. ^ Pannucci JA, Haas ES, Hall TA, Harris JK, Brown JW (1999). "RNase P RNAs from some Archaea are catalytically active". Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 96 (14): 7803–08. doi:10.1073/pnas.96.14.7803. PMC 22142. PMID 10393902.
  8. ^ Woodhams MD, Stadler PF, Penny D, Collins LJ (2007). "RNase MRP and the RNA processing cascade in the eukaryotic ancestor". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 7: S13. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-7-S1-S13. PMC 1796607. PMID 17288571.
  9. ^ Perreault J, Perreault JP, Boire G (2007). "Ro-associated Y RNAs in metazoans: evolution and diversification". Molecular Biology and Evolution. 24 (8): 1678–89. doi:10.1093/molbev/msm084. PMID 17470436.
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  15. ^ Horwich MD, Li C, Matranga C, Vagin V, Farley G, Wang P, Zamore PD (2007). "The Drosophila RNA methyltransferase, DmHen1, modifies germline piRNAs and single-stranded siRNAs in RISC". Current Biology. 17 (14): 1265–72. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2007.06.030. PMID 17604629.
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  17. ^ Ahmad K, Henikoff S (2002). "Epigenetic consequences of nucleosome dynamics". Cell. 111 (3): 281–84. doi:10.1016/S0092-8674(02)01081-4. PMID 12419239.
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