The role of long non-coding RNAs in chromatin structure and gene regulation: variations on a theme

David Umlauf 1 , 1 , Peter Fraser 2 , 2  and Takashi Nagano 3 , 3
  • 1 Laboratory of Chromatin and Gene Expression, The Babraham Institute, Babraham Research Campus, Cambridge CB22 3AT, UK
  • 2 Laboratory of Chromatin and Gene Expression, The Babraham Institute, Babraham Research Campus, Cambridge CB22 3AT, UK
  • 3 Laboratory of Chromatin and Gene Expression, The Babraham Institute, Babraham Research Campus, Cambridge CB22 3AT, UK

Abstract

Transcriptome studies have uncovered a plethora of non-coding RNAs (ncRNA) in mammals. Most originate within intergenic regions of the genome and recent evidence indicates that some are involved in many different pathways that ultimately act on genome architecture and gene expression. In this review, we discuss the role of well-characterized long ncRNAs in gene regulation pointing to their similarities, but also their differences. We will attempt to highlight a paradoxical situation in which transcription is needed to repress entire chromosomal domains possibly through the action of ncRNAs that create nuclear environments refractory to transcription.

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Biological Chemistry keeps you up-to-date with the latest advances in the molecular life sciences. The journal publishes Research Articles, Short Communications, Reviews and Minireviews. Areas include: general biochemistry/pathobiochemistry, structural biology, molecular and cellular biology, genetics and epigenetics, virology, molecular medicine, plant molecular biology/biochemistry and novel experimental methodologies.

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