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RNA Biology

For an Article Collection on

RNA and the Immune Response: From Mechanisms to Clinical Applications

Manuscript deadline
15 March 2024

Cover image - RNA Biology

Article collection guest advisor(s)

Prof. Dr. Leon Schulte, Philipps University Marburg, Germany
[email protected]

Dr. Harshavardhan Janga, Philipps University Marburg, Germany
[email protected]

Prof. K. Mark Ansel, University of California San Francisco
[email protected]

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RNA and the Immune Response: From Mechanisms to Clinical Applications

Our immune system serves as our primary defense against infections and malignant cell transformation. However, altered immune cell activity can also contribute to the progression of fatal diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and infections. Recent research has shed light on the pivotal role of RNA in governing immune cell functions. MicroRNAs and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been identified as key regulators of immune cell activity, influencing processes such as mRNA stability, chromatin accessibility, and protein complex assembly. Furthermore, RBPs contribute to immunoregulation by controlling RNA turnover and processing. In addition, alternative splicing events and the sensing of foreign RNA by nucleic acid receptors play crucial roles in both innate and adaptive immunity.

Despite notable progress, the available literature suggests that we are only scratching the surface of understanding the intricate roles of RNAs in immunity. We believe that unraveling the complex relationships between RNA and the immune system holds promise for identifying novel therapeutic avenues and biomarkers for combating major diseases in humans. Recent advancements in RNA-based therapeutics, including the first FDA-approved antisense drugs and RNA vaccines, further underscore the remarkable potential of RNA as a therapeutic target and tool for preventing and limiting severe diseases.

In this Article Collection, we aim to explore the multifaceted roles of RNA in immune cell regulation and its clinical applications. The collection will encompass the following subtopics:

  • RNA modifications and their impact on immune responses.
  • RNA-protein interactions in immune regulation.
  • Non-coding RNAs and their roles in immune cell development, differentiation, and function.
  • RNA-based biomarkers for immune-related diseases and response to therapy.
  • RNA viruses and host interactions.
  • RNA mechanisms in bacteria impacting host immunity.
  • RNA-based and RNA-targeting therapeutics.
  • Advancements in computational analysis relating to RNA in the immune system.

We welcome experts from diverse fields to contribute original research articles, reviews, and perspectives that delve into these subtopics.


Leon Schulte did his PhD and postdoc on RNA mechanisms in mammalian immunity at the Max-Planck-Institute for Infection Biology (Berlin) and the University of Würzburg in Germany. He then joined the University of Marburg Biomedical Research Centre (Germany), as an independent junior group leader. In 2022 he was promoted to full professor for "RNA Biology of Infection and Inflammation".

Harshavardhan Janga did his PhD studies in the Schulte Lab at University of Marburg Biomedical Research Centre (Germany) and as a postdoc in the Grünweller group at Philipps University Marburg he worked on host-directed antiviral drugs. In 2022, he started as a postdoc in the Schulte lab. He is investigating the roles of long non-coding RNAs and splice-regulatory RNPs in bacterial infection of the human lung using 3D lung tissue culture models.

Dr. Ansel is an RNA Immunologist studying how post-transcriptional regulation shapes immune responses through network regulation of gene expression circuitry in lymphocytes and other immune cells. He is Professor of Microbiology & Immunology and faculty director of the ImmunoX Initiative at University of California San Francisco (UCSF). Current Ansel lab projects span from technology development and basic mechanisms of RNA regulation through in vivo function of miRNAs, lncRNAs and RNA binding proteins in mice and human cells.

Disclosure Statement: Dr. Schulte, Dr. Janga, and Dr. Ansel declare no conflict of interest regarding this work.

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All manuscripts submitted to this Article Collection will undergo desk assessment and peer-review as part of our standard editorial process. Guest Advisors for this collection will not be involved in peer-reviewing manuscripts unless they are an existing member of the Editorial Board. Please review the journal Aims and Scope and author submission instructions prior to submitting a manuscript.