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Bioessays. 2011 Nov;33(11):830-9. doi: 10.1002/bies.201100084. Epub 2011 Sep 14.

Long non-coding RNA modifies chromatin: epigenetic silencing by long non-coding RNAs.

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Omics Science Center, RIKEN Yokohama Institute, 1-7-22 Suehiro Cho, Tsurumi Ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 230-0045, Japan.


Common themes are emerging in the molecular mechanisms of long non-coding RNA-mediated gene repression. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) participate in targeted gene silencing through chromatin remodelling, nuclear reorganisation, formation of a silencing domain and precise control over the entry of genes into silent compartments. The similarities suggest that these are fundamental processes of transcription regulation governed by lncRNAs. These findings have paved the way for analogous investigations on other lncRNAs and chromatin remodelling enzymes. Here we discuss these common mechanisms and provide our view on other molecules that warrant similar investigations. We also present our concepts on the possible mechanisms that may facilitate the exit of genes from the silencing domains and their potential therapeutic applications. Finally, we point to future areas of research and put forward our recommendations for improvements in resources and applications of existing technologies towards targeted outcomes in this active area of research.

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