Neighboring gene regulation by antisense long non-coding RNAs

Int J Mol Sci. 2015 Feb 3;16(2):3251-66. doi: 10.3390/ijms16023251.


Antisense transcription, considered until recently as transcriptional noise, is a very common phenomenon in human and eukaryotic transcriptomes, operating in two ways based on whether the antisense RNA acts in cis or in trans. This process can generate long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), one of the most diverse classes of cellular transcripts, which have demonstrated multifunctional roles in fundamental biological processes, including embryonic pluripotency, differentiation and development. Antisense lncRNAs have been shown to control nearly every level of gene regulation--pretranscriptional, transcriptional and posttranscriptional--through DNA-RNA, RNA-RNA or protein-RNA interactions. This review is centered on functional studies of antisense lncRNA-mediated regulation of neighboring gene expression. Specifically, it addresses how these transcripts interact with other biological molecules, nucleic acids and proteins, to regulate gene expression through chromatin remodeling at the pretranscriptional level and modulation of transcriptional and post-transcriptional processes by altering the sense mRNA structure or the cellular compartmental distribution, either in the nucleus or the cytoplasm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA
  • Epistasis, Genetic
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA, Antisense*
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • RNA, Antisense
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • DNA