RNA in unexpected places: long non-coding RNA functions in diverse cellular contexts

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2013 Nov;14(11):699-712. doi: 10.1038/nrm3679. Epub 2013 Oct 9.


The increased application of transcriptome-wide profiling approaches has led to an explosion in the number of documented long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). While these new and enigmatic players in the complex transcriptional milieu are encoded by a significant proportion of the genome, their functions are mostly unknown. Early discoveries support a paradigm in which lncRNAs regulate transcription via chromatin modulation, but new functions are steadily emerging. Given the biochemical versatility of RNA, lncRNAs may be used for various tasks, including post-transcriptional regulation, organization of protein complexes, cell-cell signalling and allosteric regulation of proteins.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genetic Variation / genetics
  • Genetic Variation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / metabolism*


  • RNA, Long Noncoding