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Cancers (Basel). 2013 Apr 26;5(2):462-90. doi: 10.3390/cancers5020462.

Regulatory Roles for Long ncRNA and mRNA.

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1
Department of Human Genetics, Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences (NCMLS), Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, P.O. Box 9101, Nijmegen 6500 HB, The Netherlands. M.Coolen@gen.umcn.nl.

Abstract

Recent advances in high-throughput sequencing technology have identified the transcription of a much larger portion of the genome than previously anticipated. Especially in the context of cancer it has become clear that aberrant transcription of both protein-coding and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are frequent events. The current dogma of RNA function describes mRNA to be responsible for the synthesis of proteins, whereas non-coding RNA can have regulatory or epigenetic functions. However, this distinction between protein coding and regulatory ability of transcripts may not be that strict. Here, we review the increasing body of evidence for the existence of multifunctional RNAs that have both protein-coding and trans-regulatory roles. Moreover, we demonstrate that coding transcripts bind to components of the Polycomb Repressor Complex 2 (PRC2) with similar affinities as non-coding transcripts, revealing potential epigenetic regulation by mRNAs. We hypothesize that studies on the regulatory ability of disease-associated mRNAs will form an important new field of research.

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