Long noncoding RNAs as enhancers of gene expression

U. A. Ørom, T. Derrien, R. Guigo, R. Shiekhattar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The human genome contains thousands of long noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) transcribed from diverse genomic locations. A large set of long ncRNAs is transcribed independent of protein-coding genes. We have used the GENCODE annotation of the human genome to identify 3019 long ncRNAs expressed in various human cell lines and tissue. This set of long ncRNAs responds to differentiation signals in primary human keratinocytes and is coexpressed with important regulators of keratinocyte development. Depletion of a number of these long ncRNAs leads to the repression of specific genes in their surrounding locus, supportive of an activating function for ncRNAs. Using reporter assays, we confirmed such activating function and show that such transcriptional enhancement is mediated through the long ncRNA transcripts. Our studies show that long ncRNAs exhibit functions similar to classically defined enhancers, through an RNA-dependent mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-331
Number of pages7
JournalCold Spring Harbor symposia on quantitative biology
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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