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Genomics. 2009 Apr;93(4):291-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ygeno.2008.11.009. Epub 2008 Dec 18.

Long intronic noncoding RNA transcription: expression noise or expression choice?

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Departamento de Bioquimica, Instituto de Quimica, Universidade de São Paulo, 05508-900 São Paulo, SP, Brazil.


Recently, it was discovered that non-protein-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) represent the majority of the human transcripts. Regulatory role of many classes of ncRNAs is broadly recognized; however, long intronic ncRNAs have received little attention. In the past few years, evidence that intronic regions are key sources of regulatory ncRNAs has first appeared. Here we present an updated vision of the intronic ncRNA world, giving special attention to the long intronic ncRNAs. We summarize aspects of their expression pattern, evolutionary constraints, biogenesis, and responsiveness to physiological stimuli, and postulate their mechanisms of action. Deciphering nature's choice of different types of messages conveyed by ncRNAs will shed light on the RNA-based layer of regulatory processes in eukaryotic cells.

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