Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are transcripts longer than 200 nucleotides that do not have functional protein-coding capacity. They can regulate gene expression by affecting the transcription, translation, and stability of mRNA targets through diverse mechanisms. Dozens of eukaryotic lncRNAs have been functionally characterized to date, and they have been associated with important cellular processes such as meiosis, pluripotency, apoptosis, and lineage specification. An emerging theme among known lncRNA functions is therefore the modulation of cell differentiation states, often in response to developmental or environmental cues. This chapter discusses current models of lncRNA function during several well-characterized cell differentiation processes, from yeast to human, highlighting recent evidence that implicate lncRNAs in the regulation of animal development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Medicine
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology