Dynamic gene expression during cellular differentiation is tightly coordinated by transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms. An emerging theme is the central role of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) in the regulation of this specificity. Recent advances demonstrate that lncRNAs are expressed in a lineage-specific manner and control the development of several cell types in the hematopoietic system. Moreover, specific lncRNAs are induced to modulate innate and adaptive immune responses. lncRNAs can function via RNA-DNA, RNA-RNA, and RNA-protein target interactions. As a result, they affect several stages of gene regulation, including chromatin modification, mRNA biogenesis, and protein signaling. We discuss recent advances, future prospects, and challenges in understanding the roles of lncRNAs in immunity and immune-mediated diseases.
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