Introduction: Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are a recently discovered class of non-coding functional RNA which has attracted immense research interest. The growing corpus of literature in the field provides ample evidence to suggest the important role of lncRNAs as regulators in a wide spectrum of biological processes. Recent evidence also suggests the role of lncRNAs in the pathophysiology of disease processes.
Areas covered: The authors discuss a conceptual framework for understanding lncRNA-mediated regulation as a function of its interaction with other biomolecules in the cell. They summarize the mechanisms of the known functions of lncRNAs in light of this conceptual framework, and suggest how this insight could help in discovering novel targets for drug discovery. They also argue how certain emerging technologies could be of immense utility, both in discovering potential therapeutic targets as well as in further therapeutic development.
Expert opinion: The authors propose how the field could immensely benefit from methodologies and technologies from six emerging fields in molecular and computational biology. They also suggest a futuristic area of lncRNAs design as a potential offshoot of synthetic biology, which would be an attractive field, both for discovery of targets as well as a therapeutic strategy.