The human genome encodes nearly as many “non-coding” RNAs as it does protein-encoding mRNAs, yet the functions of most ncRNAs are unknown. Furthermore, it has been estimated that the human genome may encode nearly as many RNA binding proteins as it does DNA binding proteins, yet our understanding of the roles of RNA-binding proteins and the determinants of RNA-protein recognition lag behind our understanding of the mechanisms and regulatory roles of transcription factors.
The emerging roles of ncRNAs in human development and disease, new examples of RNA-based immunity, unanticipated roles of circular RNAs (e.g., as miRNA sponges), novel applications of RNA aptamers, and renewed interest in RNA-based therapeutics present extraordinary opportunities for the computational community. Relatively recent realizations of the importance of ncRNAs in both pre- (e.g., epigenetic) and post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression provide strong motivation for such efforts.
Our goal is to bring together scientists investigating structures, functions and dynamics of RNA, RNA-protein complexes (RNPs), and RNA-protein interaction networks, with a focus on the regulatory roles of RNAs and RNPs.