The central nervous system (CNS) is a complex biological system composed of numerous cell types working in concert. The intricate development and functioning of this highly ordered structure depends upon exquisite spatial and temporal control of gene expression in the cells comprising the CNS. Thus, gene regulatory networks that control cell fates and functions play critical roles in the CNS. Failure to develop and maintain intricate regulatory networks properly leads to impaired development or neural dysfunction, which might manifest as neurological disorders.
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are emerging as important components of gene regulatory networks, working in concert with transcription factors and epigenetic regulators of gene expression. Interestingly, many lncRNAs are highly expressed in the adult and developing brain, often showing precise temporal and spatial patterns of expression. This specificity of expression and growing awareness of the importance of lncRNAs suggest that they play key roles in CNS development and function. In this review, the authors highlight the growing evidence for the importance of lncRNAs in the CNS and the indications that their dysregulation underlies some neurological disorders.
- Ng SY, Lin L, Soh BS, Stanton LW. (2013) Long noncoding RNAs in development and disease of the central nervous system. Trends Genet [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]