A growing number of long nuclear-retained non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) have recently been described. However, few functions have been elucidated for these ncRNAs. Here, we have characterized the function of one such ncRNA, identified as metastasis-associated lung adenocarcinoma transcript 1 (Malat1). Malat1 RNA is expressed in numerous tissues and is highly abundant in neurons. It is enriched in nuclear speckles only when RNA polymerase II-dependent transcription is active. Knock-down studies revealed that Malat1 modulates the recruitment of SR family pre-mRNA-splicing factors to the transcription site of a transgene array. DNA microarray analysis in Malat1-depleted neuroblastoma cells indicates that Malat1 controls the expression of genes involved not only in nuclear processes, but also in synapse function. In cultured hippocampal neurons, knock-down of Malat1 decreases synaptic density, whereas its over-expression results in a cell-autonomous increase in synaptic density. Our results suggest that Malat1 regulates synapse formation by modulating the expression of genes involved in synapse formation and/or maintenance.