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This article is the author’s final published version in Biomolecules, Volume 12, Issue 5, April 2022, Article number 611.

The published version is available at Copyright © Shigematsu and Kirino.


Next generation sequencing of RNA molecules (RNA-seq) has become a common tool to characterize the expression profiles of RNAs and their regulations in normal physiological processes and diseases. Although increasingly accumulating RNA-seq data are widely available through publicly accessible sites, most of the data for short non-coding RNAs (sncRNAs) have been obtained for microRNA (miRNA) analyses by standard RNA-seq, which only capture the sncRNAs with 5′-phosphate (5′-P) and 3′-hydroxyl (3′-OH) ends. The sncRNAs with other terminal formations such as those with a 5′-hydroxyl end (5′-OH), a 3′-phosphate (3′-P) end, or a 2′,3′-cyclic phosphate end (2′,3′-cP) cannot be efficiently amplified and sequenced by standard RNA-seq. Due to the invisibility in standard RNA-seq data, these non-miRNA-sncRNAs have been a hidden component in the transcriptome. However, as the functional significances of these sncRNAs have become increasingly apparent, specific RNA-seq methods compatible with various terminal formations of sncRNAs have been developed and started shedding light on the previously unrecognized sncRNAs that lack 5′-P/3′-OH ends. In this review, we summarize the expanding world of sncRNAs with various terminal formations and the strategic approaches of specific RNA-seq methods to distinctively characterize their expression profiles.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.