The human genome is widely transcribed outside of protein-coding genes, producing thousands of noncoding RNAs from different subfamilies including enhancer RNAs. Functional studies to determine the role of individual genes are challenging with noncoding RNAs appearing to be more difficult to knockdown than mRNAs. One factor that may have hindered progress is that the majority of noncoding RNAs are thought to be located within the nucleus, where the efficiency of traditional RNA interference techniques is debatable. Here researchers from the University of Bath present an alternative RNA interference technique utilizing Locked Nucleic Acids, which is able to efficiently knockdown noncoding RNAs irrespective of intracellular location.
Overview of some of the functions of long non-coding RNA
lncRNAs are involved in gene regulation through a variety of mechanisms. The process of transcription of the lncRNA itself can be a marker of transcription and the resulting lncRNA can function in transcriptional regulation or in chromatin modification (usually via DNA and protein interactions) both in cis and in trans. lncRNAs can bind to complementary RNA and affect RNA processing, turnover or localization. The interaction of lncRNA with proteins can affect protein function and localization as well as facilitate formation of riboprotein complexes. Some lncRNAs are actually precursors for smaller regulatory RNAs such as microRNAs or piwi RNAs. Figure modified from Wilusz et al. Genes Dev. 2009. 23: 1494-1504. PMID: 19571179.