Showing posts from February, 2013

Regulation of gene expression by long non-coding RNAs

Gene regulation is a really complicated thing. We have covalent marks to DNA, histones and transcription factors. Chromatin remodeling and long range enhancer interactions. Enhancer elements located in introns of genes hundreds of kilobases away from the gene they're controlling. Transcriptional control from microRNA networks and now there is an emerging model for the function of some of the thousands of long non-coding RNAs which are just now being uncovered with high resolution (directional) transcriptome analysis.

Many of you which studied molecular biology at Uni would (should) remember the model for how X chromosome inactivation is achieved. The mechanism centers around XIST, one of the first non-coding RNA genes identified. Expression of XIST from the inactive X chromosome essentially wraps it up at the same time that repressive epigenetic marks are established through its interaction with the Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2). Sounds simple enough, but the model also inv…