Molecular Mechanisms of Long Noncoding RNAs

Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Program in Epithelial Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
Molecular cell (Impact Factor: 14.02). 09/2011; 43(6):904-14. DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2011.08.018
Source: PubMed


Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are an important class of pervasive genes involved in a variety of biological functions. Here we discuss the emerging archetypes of molecular functions that lncRNAs execute-as signals, decoys, guides, and scaffolds. For each archetype, examples from several disparate biological contexts illustrate the commonality of the molecular mechanisms, and these mechanistic views provide useful explanations and predictions of biological outcomes. These archetypes of lncRNA function may be a useful framework to consider how lncRNAs acquire properties as biological signal transducers and hint at their possible origins in evolution. As new lncRNAs are being discovered at a rapid pace, the molecular mechanisms of lncRNAs are likely to be enriched and diversified.

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    • "Acting as a guide molecule, lncRNAs recruit transcriptional and epigenetic regulatory factors and direct them towards specific target genes. Acting as a scaffold, lncRNAs recruit multiple proteins or other molecules to form ribonucleoprotein complexes (Wang and Chang 2011; Sana et al. 2012; Wu et al. 2013). These types of lncRNAs participate in the expanded regulatory functions of cells, which determine the cell fate (Huarte and Rinn 2010). "
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    • ", 2009 ; Mercer et al . , 2009 ; Wang and Chang , 2011 ) . In the following sections , we will briefly review each of these regulatory processes to highlight the importance of lncRNAs to maintain cellular homeostasis . "
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    • "LincRNAs are lncRNAs transcribed in intergenic regions [36] [37] that can exert regulatory functions at different levels and by different mechanisms [38]. "
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