Although thousands of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been discovered in eukaryotes, very few molecular mechanisms have been characterized due to an insufficient understanding of lncRNA structure. Therefore, investigations of lncRNA structure and subsequent elucidation of the regulatory mechanisms are urgently needed. However, since lncRNA are high molecular weight molecules, which makes their crystallization difficult, obtaining information about their structure is extremely challenging, and the structures of only several lncRNAs have been determined so far. Here, we review the structure–function relationships of the widely studied lncRNAs found in the animal and plant kingdoms, focusing on the principles and applications of both in vitro
and in vivo
technologies for the study of RNA structures, including dimethyl sulfate-sequencing (DMS-seq), selective 2′-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension-sequencing (SHAPE-seq), parallel analysis of RNA structure (PARS), and fragmentation sequencing (FragSeq). The aim of this review is to provide a better understanding of lncRNA biological functions by studying them at the structural level.
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