Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Large-intergenic-non-coding RNAs (linc-RNAs): not all HOTAIR!

In a recent epub from Nature, Eric Lander's group present data implicating these long non coding RNAs as major drivers of pluripotency and differentiation, at least in ES cells - through a huge series of linc-RNA knockdowns, the authors were able to demonstrate that many of these RNAs associate with proteins known to regulate chromatin structure, and thus alter or maintain gene expression - they suggest a similar mode of action to the well-studied non-coding RNAs HOTAIR and XIST, in that the lincRNAs may function in trans by coupling chromatin remodelling proteins - producing a global effect on transcription that is specific for the cell type.  Although this study was restricted to ES cells, it is likely that the same kind of process is utilized in the global alterations of gene expression seen in cancer, and if that is the case, learning how we can modulate lincRNAs might be another way we can target tumor cells and "reset" their programming.  You can read about it in Nature, just click here

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