Considerations when investigating lncRNA function in vivo

Elife. 2014 Aug 14;3:e03058. doi: 10.7554/eLife.03058.

Abstract

Although a small number of the vast array of animal long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have known effects on cellular processes examined in vitro, the extent of their contributions to normal cell processes throughout development, differentiation and disease for the most part remains less clear. Phenotypes arising from deletion of an entire genomic locus cannot be unequivocally attributed either to the loss of the lncRNA per se or to the associated loss of other overlapping DNA regulatory elements. The distinction between cis- or trans-effects is also often problematic. We discuss the advantages and challenges associated with the current techniques for studying the in vivo function of lncRNAs in the light of different models of lncRNA molecular mechanism, and reflect on the design of experiments to mutate lncRNA loci. These considerations should assist in the further investigation of these transcriptional products of the genome.

Keywords: Science forum; brain development; developmental defect; knockout mouse models; lethality; long non-coding RNAs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Genetic Loci
  • Genome*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics*
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Regulatory Elements, Transcriptional*
  • Transcription, Genetic*

Substances

  • RNA, Long Noncoding