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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2011 Apr;21(2):194-8. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2011.01.020. Epub 2011 Feb 15.

Long non-coding RNAs and enhancers.

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  • 1The Wistar Institute, 3601 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, United States.

Abstract

Long non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are emerging as important regulatory factors in mammalian genomics. A number of reports within the last 2 years have identified thousands of actively expressed long ncRNA transcripts with distinct properties. The long ncRNAs show differential expression patterns and regulation in a wide variety of cells and tissues, adding significant complexity to the understanding of their biological role. Furthermore, genome-wide studies of transcriptional enhancers based on chromatin modifications and enhancer binding proteins have led to the identification of putative enhancers and provided insight into their tissue-specific regulation of gene expression. In an exciting turn of events, new evidence is indicating that long ncRNAs are associated with enhancer regions and that such non-coding transcription correlate with the increased activity of the neighboring genes. Moreover, additional experiments suggest that enhancer-function can be mediated through a transcribed long ncRNA and that this might be a common function for long ncRNAs. Here, we review recent advances made both in the genome-wide characterization of enhancers and in the identification of new classes of long ncRNAs, and discuss the functional overlap of these two classes of regulatory elements.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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