Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have recently gained increasing attention because of their crucial roles in gene regulatory processes. Functional studies using mammalian skin as a model system have revealed their role in controlling normal tissue homeostasis as well as the transition to a diseased state. Here, researchers from the University of Regensburg, Germany describe how lncRNAs regulate differentiation to preserve an undifferentiated epidermal progenitor compartment, and to maintain a functional skin permeability barrier. Furthermore, they reflect on recent work analyzing the impact of lncRNAs on the progression from normal epithelium to the development of skin disorders and cancer.
- Hombach S, Kretz M. (2013) The non-coding skin: Exploring the roles of long non-coding RNAs in epidermal homeostasis and disease. Bioessays [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]