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      The emerging role of lncRNAs in cancer

      Nature Medicine

      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          It is increasingly evident that many of the genomic mutations in cancer reside inside regions that do not encode proteins. However, these regions are often transcribed into long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). The recent application of next-generation sequencing to a growing number of cancer transcriptomes has indeed revealed thousands of lncRNAs whose aberrant expression is associated with different cancer types. Among the few that have been functionally characterized, several have been linked to malignant transformation. Notably, these lncRNAs have key roles in gene regulation and thus affect various aspects of cellular homeostasis, including proliferation, survival, migration or genomic stability. This review aims to summarize current knowledge of lncRNAs from the cancer perspective. It discusses the strategies that led to the identification of cancer-related lncRNAs and the methodologies and challenges involving the study of these molecules, as well as the imminent applications of these findings to the clinic.

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          Most cited references 44

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          A coding-independent function of gene and pseudogene mRNAs regulates tumour biology

          The canonical role of messenger RNA (mRNA) is to deliver protein-coding information to sites of protein synthesis. However, given that microRNAs bind to RNAs, we hypothesized that RNAs possess a biological role in cancer cells that relies upon their ability to compete for microRNA binding and is independent of their protein-coding function. As a paradigm for the protein-coding-independent role of RNAs, we describe the functional relationship between the mRNAs produced by the PTEN tumour suppressor gene and its pseudogene (PTENP1) and the critical consequences of this interaction. We find that PTENP1 is biologically active as determined by its ability to regulate cellular levels of PTEN, and that it can exert a growth-suppressive role. We also show that PTENP1 locus is selectively lost in human cancer. We extend our analysis to other cancer-related genes that possess pseudogenes, such as oncogenic KRAS. Further, we demonstrate that the transcripts of protein coding genes such as PTEN are also biologically active. Together, these findings attribute a novel biological role to expressed pseudogenes, as they can regulate coding gene expression, and reveal a non-coding function for mRNAs.
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            Molecular interplay of the noncoding RNA ANRIL and methylated histone H3 lysine 27 by polycomb CBX7 in transcriptional silencing of INK4a.

            Expression of the INK4b/ARF/INK4a tumor suppressor locus in normal and cancerous cell growth is controlled by methylation of histone H3 at lysine 27 (H3K27me) as directed by the Polycomb group proteins. The antisense noncoding RNA ANRIL of the INK4b/ARF/INK4a locus is also important for expression of the protein-coding genes in cis, but its mechanism has remained elusive. Here we report that chromobox 7 (CBX7) within the polycomb repressive complex 1 binds to ANRIL, and both CBX7 and ANRIL are found at elevated levels in prostate cancer tissues. In concert with H3K27me recognition, binding to RNA contributes to CBX7 function, and disruption of either interaction impacts the ability of CBX7 to repress the INK4b/ARF/INK4a locus and control senescence. Structure-guided analysis reveals the molecular interplay between noncoding RNA and H3K27me as mediated by the conserved chromodomain. Our study suggests a mechanism by which noncoding RNA participates directly in epigenetic transcriptional repression. Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              The evolution of lncRNA repertoires and expression patterns in tetrapods.

              Only a very small fraction of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are well characterized. The evolutionary history of lncRNAs can provide insights into their functionality, but the absence of lncRNA annotations in non-model organisms has precluded comparative analyses. Here we present a large-scale evolutionary study of lncRNA repertoires and expression patterns, in 11 tetrapod species. We identify approximately 11,000 primate-specific lncRNAs and 2,500 highly conserved lncRNAs, including approximately 400 genes that are likely to have originated more than 300 million years ago. We find that lncRNAs, in particular ancient ones, are in general actively regulated and may function predominantly in embryonic development. Most lncRNAs evolve rapidly in terms of sequence and expression levels, but tissue specificities are often conserved. We compared expression patterns of homologous lncRNA and protein-coding families across tetrapods to reconstruct an evolutionarily conserved co-expression network. This network suggests potential functions for lncRNAs in fundamental processes such as spermatogenesis and synaptic transmission, but also in more specific mechanisms such as placenta development through microRNA production.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Medicine
                Nat Med
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1078-8956
                1546-170X
                November 2015
                November 5 2015
                November 2015
                : 21
                : 11
                : 1253-1261
                Article
                10.1038/nm.3981
                26540387
                5e0db809-7ace-433b-85cc-cd4a44bc8de1
                © 2015

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