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In general, only ~5% of the mRNA transcripts codes for protein. The rest are remaining as other kind of RNAs (lncRNA, miRNA, siRNA, piRNA etc). For example mouse transcriptome contains ~180,000 transcripts, but only ~20000 protein coding genes were identified.
Long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) is longer than 200 nucleotides (<70–100 amino acids) in length. Although lncRNAs do not encode proteins, these RNA sequences are important for epigenetic inheritance, transcription, post-transcription, and other multi-level regulatory processes. In addition to mRNA and microRNA, lncRNA is a major hotspot in functional genomics research.
Potential functions #
- Transcriptional interference
- Induce chromatin remodeling and histone modifications
- Control alternative splicing patterns
- Modify protein activity
- Alters protein localization in the cell
In silico approaches to identify lncRNAs #
- cDNA/EST in silico mining
- Whole genome tilling array
- Epigenetic signature-based methods
How to study lncRNAs #
lncRNA and Cancer #
lncRNAs represent an emerging and under-studied class of transcripts that play a significant role in human cancers. Due to the tissue- and cancer-specific expression patterns observed for many lncRNAs it is believed that they could serve as ideal diagnostic biomarkers.
Useful links #