Posttranscriptional gene regulation by long noncoding RNA

J Mol Biol. 2013 Oct 9;425(19):3723-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2012.11.024. Epub 2012 Nov 23.


Eukaryotic cells transcribe a vast number of noncoding RNA species. Among them, long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been widely implicated in the regulation of gene transcription. However, examples of posttranscriptional gene regulation by lncRNAs are emerging. Through extended base-pairing, lncRNAs can stabilize or promote the translation of target mRNAs, while partial base-pairing facilitates mRNA decay or inhibits target mRNA translation. In the absence of complementarity, lncRNAs can suppress precursor mRNA splicing and translation by acting as decoys of RNA-binding proteins or microRNAs and can compete for microRNA-mediated inhibition leading to increased expression of the mRNA. Through these regulatory mechanisms, lncRNAs can elicit differentiation, proliferation, and cytoprotective programs, underscoring the rising recognition of lncRNA roles in human disease. In this review, we summarize the mechanisms of posttranscriptional gene regulation by lncRNAs identified until now.

Keywords: BACE1; PABP; RNA-binding protein; lincRNA; lncRNA; long noncoding RNA; mRNA turnover; poly(A)-binding protein; pre-mRNA; precursor mRNA; small nucleolar lncRNA; sno-lncRNA; translational regulation; β amyloid-cleaving enzyme 1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional*
  • RNA Splicing
  • RNA Stability
  • RNA, Long Noncoding*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins