Long non-coding RNAs (LncRNAs) are evolutionarily conserved, longer than 200nt, non-coding RNA molecules found in eukaryotes. Growing evidence suggests that LncRNAs have emerged as important regulators for diverse functions1. LncRNAs are involved in a surprisingly wide variety of cellular functions, including epigenetic silencing, transcriptional regulation, RNA processing, and RNA modification2. In addition, LncRNAs have been associated with human diseases such as cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart diseases3. Having a better understanding of LncRNA’s functional roles has tremendous potential to advance our understanding of cell regulatory and disease mechanisms.
What are Long non-coding RNAs ?
Abundance of LncRNA
The majority of genomes are transcribed to produce LncRNAs. LncRNA’s expression is under precise control at all levels during gene expression and processing. LncRNAs are expressed at low levels and can be found in many specific tissue types, subcellular compartments, or under exact conditions, which raised the challenge to delineate the mechanisms underlying their transcription, regulation, and potential functional roles4.
It is becoming evident that the vast majorities of non-coding RNAs overlap with, or are transcribed antisense to, protein-coding genes or are expressed as intergenic or intronic regions of the genome.