Beyond the ribosome: Extra-translational functions of tRNA fragments

Kevin W Diebel, Kun Zhou, Aaron B. Clarke, Lynne T Bemis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


High-throughput sequencing studies of small RNAs reveal a complex milieu of noncoding RNAs in biological samples. Early data analysis was often limited to microRNAs due to their regulatory nature and potential as biomarkers; however, many more classes of noncoding RNAs are now being recognized. A class of fragments initially excluded from analysis were those derived from transfer RNAs (tRNAs) because they were thought to be degrada-tion products. More recently, critical cellular function has been attributed to tRNA fragments (tRFs), and their conservation across all domains of life has propelled them into an emerging area of scientific study. The biogenesis of tRFs is currently being elucidated, and initial studies show that a diverse array of tRFs are generated from all parts of a tRNA molecule. The goal of this review was to present what is currently known about tRFs and their potential as biomarkers for the earlier detection of disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBiomarker Insights
StatePublished - Jan 28 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© the authors, publisher and licensee Libertas Academica Limited.


  • Angiogenin
  • Cancer
  • tRFs
  • tRNA biomarkers
  • tRNA fragments


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