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Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 17;7(1):8637. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-08320-3.

Genome-wide identification and expression profiling of long non-coding RNAs in auditory and vestibular systems.

Author information

1
Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, 6997801, Israel.
2
Department of Biological Regulation, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, 7610001, Israel.
3
Blavatnik School of Computer Science, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, 6997801, Israel.
4
Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, 6997801, Israel. karena@post.tau.ac.il.

Abstract

Mammalian genomes encode multiple layers of regulation, including a class of RNA molecules known as long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). These are >200 nucleotides in length and similar to mRNAs, they are capped, polyadenylated, and spliced. In contrast to mRNAs, lncRNAs are less abundant and have higher tissue specificity, and have been linked to development, epigenetic processes, and disease. However, little is known about lncRNA function in the auditory and vestibular systems, or how they play a role in deafness and vestibular dysfunction. To help address this need, we performed a whole-genome identification of lncRNAs using RNA-seq at two developmental stages of the mouse inner ear sensory epithelium of the cochlea and vestibule. We identified 3,239 lncRNA genes, most of which were intergenic (lincRNAs) and 721 are novel. We examined temporal and tissue specificity by analyzing the developmental profiles on embryonic day 16.5 and at birth. The spatial and temporal patterns of three lncRNAs, two of which are in proximity to genes associated with hearing and deafness, were explored further. Our findings indicate that lncRNAs are prevalent in the sensory epithelium of the mouse inner ear and are likely to play key roles in regulating critical pathways for hearing and balance.

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