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Cardiovasc Res. 2011 Jun 1;90(3):430-40. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvr097. Epub 2011 May 9.

Non-coding RNAs as regulators of gene expression and epigenetics.

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  • 1Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0651, USA.


Genome-wide studies have revealed that mammalian genomes are pervasively transcribed. This has led to the identification and isolation of novel classes of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) that influence gene expression by a variety of mechanisms. Here we review the characteristics and functions of regulatory ncRNAs in chromatin remodelling and at multiple levels of transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation. We also describe the potential roles of ncRNAs in vascular biology and in mediating epigenetic modifications that might play roles in cardiovascular disease susceptibility. The emerging recognition of the diverse functions of ncRNAs in regulation of gene expression suggests that they may represent new targets for therapeutic intervention.

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