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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Available from: Kevin C Wang, Oct 02, 2015
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    • "Regardless of the mechanism, a growing body of evidence implicates lncRNAs in a myriad of normal cellular functions such as DNA damage response and mitosis (Tsai et al., 2010; Yap et al., 2010; Hung et al., 2011; Kotake et al., 2011; Wang and Chang, 2011) and in diseases, such as cancer (Hajjari et al., 2014). "
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    Frontiers in Genetics 08/2015; 6:263. DOI:10.3389/fgene.2015.00263
    • "First of all, the definition of non-coding RNAs as transcripts that do not code for proteins is fundamentally based on what they are not, and it remains unknown whether this class of RNAs possesses any other encompassing characteristic. Long non-coding RNAs vary enormously in size: whereas lncRNAs are conventionally distinguished from short RNAs by having a length over 200 nucleotides (Kapranov et al. 2007; Wang and Chang 2011), very long intergenic non-coding RNAs (vlincRNAs) can span more than 1 MB (Furuno et al. 2006; St Laurent et al. 2013). In contrast to Fig. 4 On December 8, 2014 we counted the number of references in PubMed for protein-coding and non-coding genes in release 21 of the GENCODE human gene set. "
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    • "Although most of the focus has been on nuclear functions of lncRNAs, including the regulation of chromatin structure and gene expression (Rinn and Chang, 2012; Sun and Kraus, 2013; Vance and Ponting, 2014; Wang and Chang, 2011), recent studies have suggested a broad range of molecular and biochemical functions of lncRNAs across the cell, including the cytoplasm (Geisler and Coller, 2013; Sun and Kraus, 2015; van Heesch et al., 2014). In the nucleus, lncRNAs function as epigenetic and transcriptional regulators by acting as scaffolds for the assembly of chromatin-and gene-regulating complexes, or guides to direct such complexes to specific sites in the genome (Rinn and Chang, 2012; Sun and Kraus, 2013; Vance and Ponting, 2014; Wang and Chang, 2011). In the cytoplasm , lncRNAs function to control mRNA processing, mRNA post-transcriptional regulation, cellular signaling, and protein activity through allosteric regulation (Geisler and Coller, 2013; Sun and Kraus, 2015). "
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