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The Growth-Arrest-Specific (GAS)-5 Long Non-Coding RNA: A Fascinating lncRNA Widely Expressed in Cancers

1
Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI 48201, USA
2
Karmanos Cancer Institute, Detroit, MI 48201, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Non-Coding RNA 2019, 5(3), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/ncrna5030046
Received: 28 July 2019 / Revised: 8 September 2019 / Accepted: 10 September 2019 / Published: 17 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clinical Potential of Non-coding RNAs in Cancer)
Long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) genes encode non-messenger RNAs that lack open reading frames (ORFs) longer than 300 nucleotides, lack evolutionary conservation in their shorter ORFs, and do not belong to any classical non-coding RNA category. LncRNA genes equal, or exceed in number, protein-coding genes in mammalian genomes. Most mammalian genomes harbor ~20,000 protein-coding genes that give rise to conventional messenger RNA (mRNA) transcripts. These coding genes exhibit sweeping evolutionary conservation in their ORFs. LncRNAs function via different mechanisms, including but not limited to: (1) serving as “enhancer” RNAs regulating nearby coding genes in cis; (2) functioning as scaffolds to create ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes; (3) serving as sponges for microRNAs; (4) acting as ribo-mimics of consensus transcription factor binding sites in genomic DNA; (5) hybridizing to other nucleic acids (mRNAs and genomic DNA); and, rarely, (6) as templates encoding small open reading frames (smORFs) that may encode short proteins. Any given lncRNA may have more than one of these functions. This review focuses on one fascinating case—the growth-arrest-specific (GAS)-5 gene, encoding a complicated repertoire of alternatively-spliced lncRNA isoforms. GAS5 is also a host gene of numerous small nucleolar (sno) RNAs, which are processed from its introns. Publications about this lncRNA date back over three decades, covering its role in cell proliferation, cell differentiation, and cancer. The GAS5 story has drawn in contributions from prominent molecular geneticists who attempted to define its tumor suppressor function in mechanistic terms. The evidence suggests that rodent Gas5 and human GAS5 functions may be different, despite the conserved multi-exonic architecture featuring intronic snoRNAs, and positional conservation on syntenic chromosomal regions indicating that the rodent Gas5 gene is the true ortholog of the GAS5 gene in man and other apes. There is no single answer to the molecular mechanism of GAS5 action. Our goal here is to summarize competing, not mutually exclusive, mechanistic explanations of GAS5 function that have compelling experimental support. View Full-Text
Keywords: GAS5; evolution; lncRNA; cancer; ribosome profiling; cellular quiescence; small open reading frames; smORFs; riborepressor; RNA mimic GAS5; evolution; lncRNA; cancer; ribosome profiling; cellular quiescence; small open reading frames; smORFs; riborepressor; RNA mimic
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Goustin, A.S.; Thepsuwan, P.; Kosir, M.A.; Lipovich, L. The Growth-Arrest-Specific (GAS)-5 Long Non-Coding RNA: A Fascinating lncRNA Widely Expressed in Cancers. Non-Coding RNA 2019, 5, 46.

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