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Beyond traditional translation: ncRNA derived peptides as modulators of tumor behaviors.

Within the intricate tapestry of molecular research, noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) were historically overshadowed by a pervasive presumption of their inability to encode proteins or peptides. However, groundbreaking revelations have challenged this notion, unveiling select ncRNAs that surprisingly encode peptides specifically those nearing a succinct 100 amino acids. At the forefront of this epiphany stand lncRNAs and circRNAs, distinctively characterized by their embedded small open reading frames (sORFs). Increasing evidence has revealed different functions and mechanisms of peptides/proteins encoded by ncRNAs in cancer, including promotion or inhibition of cancer cell proliferation, cellular metabolism (glucose metabolism and lipid metabolism), and promotion or concerted metastasis of cancer cells. The discoveries not only accentuate the depth of ncRNA functionality but also open novel avenues for oncological research and therapeutic innovations. The main difficulties in the study of these ncRNA-derived peptides hinge crucially on precise peptide detection and sORFs identification. Here, we illuminate cutting-edge methodologies, essential instrumentation, and dedicated databases tailored for unearthing sORFs and peptides. In addition, we also conclude the potential of clinical applications in cancer therapy.

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