Cardiogenesis in mammals requires exquisite control of gene expression and faulty regulation of transcriptional programs underpins congenital heart disease (CHD), the most common defect among live births. Similarly, many adult cardiac diseases involve transcriptional changes and sometimes have a developmental basis. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are a novel class of transcripts that regulate cellular processes by controlling gene expression; however, detailed insights into their biological and mechanistic functions are only beginning to emerge. Here, the authors discuss recent findings suggesting that lncRNAs are important factors in regulation of mammalian cardiogenesis and in the pathogenesis of CHD as well as adult cardiac disease. We also outline potential methodological and conceptual considerations for future studies of lncRNAs in the heart and other contexts.
- Scheuermann JC, Boyer LA. (2013) Getting to the heart of the matter: long non-coding RNAs in cardiac development and disease. EMBO J 32(13),1805-16. [abstract]