The identification of RNAs that are not translated into proteins was an important breakthrough, defining the diversity of molecules involved in eukaryotic regulation of gene expression. These non-coding RNAs can be divided into two main classes according to their length: short non-coding RNAs, such as microRNAs (miRNAs), and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). The lncRNAs in association with other molecules can coordinate several physiological processes and their dysfunction may impact in several pathologies, including cancer and infectious diseases. They can control the flux of genetic information, such as chromosome structure modulation, transcription, splicing, messenger RNA (mRNA) stability, mRNA availability, and post-translational modifications. Long non-coding RNAs present interaction domains for DNA, mRNAs, miRNAs, and proteins, depending on both sequence and secondary structure. The advent of new generation sequencing has provided evidences of putative lncRNAs existence; however, the analysis of transcriptomes for their functional characterization remains a challenge. Here, we review some important aspects of lncRNA biology, focusing on their role as regulatory elements in gene expression modulation during physiological and disease processes, with implications in host and pathogens physiology, and their role in immune response modulation.
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