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The State of Long Non-Coding RNA Biology

Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, NSW 2010, Australia; Green Templeton College, Oxford OX2 6HG, UK; Genomics England, London EC1M 6BQ, UK
Non-Coding RNA 2018, 4(3), 17;
Received: 9 July 2018 / Revised: 30 July 2018 / Accepted: 7 August 2018 / Published: 10 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Coding RNA in the Nervous System)
Transcriptomic studies have demonstrated that the vast majority of the genomes of mammals and other complex organisms is expressed in highly dynamic and cell-specific patterns to produce large numbers of intergenic, antisense and intronic long non-protein-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). Despite well characterized examples, their scaling with developmental complexity, and many demonstrations of their association with cellular processes, development and diseases, lncRNAs are still to be widely accepted as major players in gene regulation. This may reflect an underappreciation of the extent and precision of the epigenetic control of differentiation and development, where lncRNAs appear to have a central role, likely as organizational and guide molecules: most lncRNAs are nuclear-localized and chromatin-associated, with some involved in the formation of specialized subcellular domains. I suggest that a reassessment of the conceptual framework of genetic information and gene expression in the 4-dimensional ontogeny of spatially organized multicellular organisms is required. Together with this and further studies on their biology, the key challenges now are to determine the structure–function relationships of lncRNAs, which may be aided by emerging evidence of their modular structure, the role of RNA editing and modification in enabling epigenetic plasticity, and the role of RNA signaling in transgenerational inheritance of experience. View Full-Text
Keywords: regulatory architecture; lncRNA structure–function; epigenetic plasticity; evolution regulatory architecture; lncRNA structure–function; epigenetic plasticity; evolution
MDPI and ACS Style

Mattick, J.S. The State of Long Non-Coding RNA Biology. Non-Coding RNA 2018, 4, 17.

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