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Nucleic Acids Res. 2018 Apr 20;46(7):3742-3752. doi: 10.1093/nar/gky046.

Structural analyses of NEAT1 lncRNAs suggest long-range RNA interactions that may contribute to paraspeckle architecture.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.
Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Center, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.
Department of Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


Paraspeckles are nuclear bodies that regulate multiple aspects of gene expression. The long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) NEAT1 is essential for paraspeckle formation. NEAT1 has a highly ordered spatial organization within the paraspeckle, such that its 5' and 3' ends localize on the periphery of paraspeckle, while central sequences of NEAT1 are found within the paraspeckle core. As such, the structure of NEAT1 RNA may be important as a scaffold for the paraspeckle. In this study, we used SHAPE probing and computational analyses to investigate the secondary structure of human and mouse NEAT1. We propose a secondary structural model of the shorter (3,735 nt) isoform hNEAT1_S, in which the RNA folds into four separate domains. The secondary structures of mouse and human NEAT1 are largely different, with the exception of several short regions that have high structural similarity. Long-range base-pairing interactions between the 5' and 3' ends of the long isoform NEAT1 (NEAT1_L) were predicted computationally and verified using an in vitro RNA-RNA interaction assay. These results suggest that the conserved role of NEAT1 as a paraspeckle scaffold does not require extensively conserved RNA secondary structure and that long-range interactions among NEAT1 transcripts may have an important architectural function in paraspeckle formation.

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