Encyclopedia of Metagenomics

Living Edition
| Editors: Karen E. Nelson

RNA in Circulation: Sources and Functions of Extracellular Exogenous RNA in the Blood

  • David GalasEmail author
  • Paul Wilmes
  • Kai Wang
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6418-1_105-2


RNA originated from other species.


Molecules of many kinds are abundant in circulating blood and play a wide range of important roles, both known and unknown. These include macromolecules like proteins and nucleic acids and a wide range of smaller molecules. A number of questions are raised by recent findings of stable RNA molecules in plasma that is circulating RNA outside of the cells. Among the issues that need to be addressed are the following: What are the origins of these RNA molecules? What are the mechanisms by which they enter and are stabilized in the blood? What are their possible biological functions? And finally, what are the potential applications of these extracellular RNA molecules in diagnostic and therapeutic medicine? While the precise biological functions remain to be pinned down, extracellular RNA has been proposed as a vehicle for a previously unknown cell-cell communication system. Recent reports of the detection of foreign, exogenous...


Lipid Vesicle Cluster Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat Extracellular Nucleic Acid Circulate miRNA Level Model Organism Caenorhabditis Elegans 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pacific Northwest Diabetes Research InstituteSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Luxembourg Centre for Systems BiomedicineUniversity of LuxembourgLuxembourgLuxembourg
  3. 3.Institute for Systems BiologySeattleUSA