Caister Academic Press

Exploring the Genomic Dark Matter: Non-coding RNAs and Epigenetic Regulation of Transcription as a New Therapeutic Platform

Kevin V. Morris
from: Non-coding RNAs and Epigenetic Regulation of Gene Expression: Drivers of Natural Selection (Edited by: Kevin V. Morris). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2012)


A growing body of evidence is beginning to emerge in human cells suggesting that particular species of non-coding RNAs can regulate gene transcription by modulating loci specific epigenetic states. While such observations were in the past relegated to imprinted genes, it is now becoming apparent that several genes in differentiated cells may be under some form of non-coding RNA based transcriptional and epigenetic control. Importantly, this form of regulation may be highly influenced by selective pressures and function in the governance and adaptability of the cell. Many studies have been carried out to date, which have begun to discern the mechanism of action whereby non-coding RNAs modulate gene transcription. Some evidence points to a role of long non-coding RNAs in controlling gene transcription by actively recruiting epigenetic silencing complexes to homology containing loci in the genome. While other studies point to a role for long intergenic non-coding RNAs in scaffold like features that are most likely equally implicit in the regulation of gene expression. The results of these studies will be considered in detail as well as the implications that a vast array of non-coding RNA based regulatory networks may be operative in human cells. Knowledge of this emerging RNA based epigenetic regulatory network has implications in cellular evolution as well as an entirely new area of pharmacopeia, namely RNA mediated epigenetic regulation of gene expression read more ...
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