Interspecies communication in holobionts by non-coding RNA exchange

Ana Lúcia Leitão, Marina C. Costa, André F. Gabriel, Francisco J. Enguita

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


Complex organisms are associations of different cells that coexist and collaborate creating a living consortium, the holobiont. The relationships between the holobiont members are essential for proper homeostasis of the organisms, and they are founded on the establishment of complex inter-connections between all the cells. Non-coding RNAs are regulatory molecules that can also act as communication signals between cells, being involved in either homeostasis or dysbiosis of the holobionts. Eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells can transmit signals via non-coding RNAs while using specific extracellular conveyors that travel to the target cell and can be translated into a regulatory response by dedicated molecular machinery. Within holobionts, non-coding RNA regulatory signaling is involved in symbiotic and pathogenic relationships among the cells. This review analyzes current knowledge regarding the role of non-coding RNAs in cell-to-cell communication, with a special focus on the signaling between cells in multi-organism consortia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2333
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2020


  • Extracellular ncRNAs
  • Holobiont
  • Hologenome
  • Inter-kingdom communication
  • Metagenome
  • Metatranscriptome
  • Microbiome
  • MiRNAs
  • Non-coding RNA


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