Enhancer RNAs and regulated transcriptional programs

Trends Biochem Sci. 2014 Apr;39(4):170-82. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2014.02.007. Epub 2014 Mar 24.


A large portion of the human genome is transcribed into RNAs without known protein-coding functions, far outnumbering coding transcription units. Extensive studies of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have clearly demonstrated that they can play critical roles in regulating gene expression, development, and diseases, acting both as transcriptional activators and repressors. More recently, enhancers have been found to be broadly transcribed, resulting in the production of enhancer-derived RNAs, or eRNAs. Here, we review emerging evidence suggesting that at least some eRNAs contribute to enhancer function. We discuss these findings with respect to potential mechanisms of action of eRNAs and other ncRNAs in regulated gene expression.

Keywords: eRNA; enhancer; noncoding RNA; transcription.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease / genetics
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • RNA, Untranslated / genetics
  • RNA, Untranslated / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • RNA, Untranslated