Long noncoding RNAs: an emerging link between gene regulation and nuclear organization

Trends Cell Biol. 2014 Nov;24(11):651-63. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2014.08.009. Epub 2014 Oct 23.


Mammalian genomes encode thousands of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) that play important roles in diverse biological processes. As a class, lncRNAs are generally enriched in the nucleus and, specifically, within the chromatin-associated fraction. Consistent with their localization, many lncRNAs have been implicated in the regulation of gene expression and in shaping 3D nuclear organization. In this review, we discuss the evidence that many nuclear-retained lncRNAs can interact with various chromatin regulatory proteins and recruit them to specific sites on DNA to regulate gene expression. Furthermore, we discuss the role of specific lncRNAs in shaping nuclear organization and their emerging mechanisms. Based on these examples, we propose a model that explains how lncRNAs may shape aspects of nuclear organization to regulate gene expression.

Keywords: chromatin regulation; genome organization; long noncoding RNA (lncRNA); nuclear domains.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics*
  • Chromatin / genetics*
  • DNA / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Mammals
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics*


  • Chromatin
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • DNA