Recent advances in sequencing technologies have revealed that the genome is extensively transcribed, yielding a large repertoire of non-coding RNAs. This includes long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), mRNA-like molecules that do not code for proteins, which are emerging as a new class of RNAs that play important roles in a variety of cellular processes. Ongoing studies are revealing new insights about lncRNAs, including their physiological functions, disease relationships, and molecular mechanisms of actions. Characterized lncRNAs have been shown to interact with and modulate the activity of other RNAs and protein partners, leading to alterations in transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulatory processes. In this review, the authors summarize the key features of lncRNAs, their molecular mechanisms of action, biological functions, and therapeutic implications, particularly as they apply to the field of molecular endocrinology. In addition, they provide a brief overview of how molecular biologists are beginning to probe the identity, mechanisms, and functions of this emerging class of RNA molecules.
- Sun M, Kraus WL. (2013) Minireview: Long Non-Coding RNAs: New “Links” Between Gene Expression and Cellular Outcomes in Endocrinology. Mol Endocrinol [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]