Circular RNAs pp 329-343 | Cite as

CircRNAs in Plants

  • Xuelei Lai
  • Jérémie Bazin
  • Stuart Webb
  • Martin Crespi
  • Chloe ZubietaEmail author
  • Simon J. ConnEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1087)


Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are covalently closed, single-stranded transcripts that are ubiquitously expressed in all eukaryotes and even prokaryotic archaea. Although once regarded as splicing artifacts, circRNAs are a novel class of regulatory molecules with diverse biological functions, including regulation of transcription, modulation of alternative splicing, and binding of miRNAs and proteins. The majority of studies of circRNAs have been performed in animals with a focus on the biogenesis, function, and mechanistic characterization of these molecules. In contrast, the study of circRNAs in plants is just emerging. Interestingly, recent circRNA profiling studies in model plant systems show distinct features of plant circRNAs compared with those from animals, including putative roles in stress response, differences in expression patterns, and novel biogenesis mechanisms. This provides a great opportunity to broaden our knowledge of circRNAs using plant model systems, such as Arabidopsis and rice, which are ideal for phenotypic characterization and genetic studies. In this review, we summarize current knowledge of plant circRNAs, discuss their identification and biogenesis, describe potential functions, and propose future perspectives for plant circRNA study.


circRNAs Plants Transcriptomics Genome-wide profiling 



This work was supported by Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (FT160100318 to S.C.), Action Thématique et Incitative sur Programme (ATIP)-Avenir (to C.Z.), Agence Nationale de la Recherche (project FloPiNet to C.Z. and X.L.), Grenoble Alliance for Integrated Structural Cell Biology (ANR-10-LABX-49-01 to C.Z.), and the “Laboratoire d’Excellence (LABEX)” Saclay Plant Sciences (SPS; ANR-10-LABX-40) and the ANR grant SPLISIL, France (to M.C.).

Competing Financial Interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Physiologie Cellulaire et Végétale, CNRS Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CEA, INRA, BIG GrenobleGrenobleFrance
  2. 2.Institute of Plant Sciences Paris-Saclay, IPS2, CNRS-INRA-University of Paris Sud, Paris-Diderot and EvryUniversity of Paris SaclayGif sur YvetteFrance
  3. 3.Flinders Centre for Innovation in CancerCollege of Medicine & Public Health, Flinders UniversityBedford ParkAustralia

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