The human genome produces thousands of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs)-transcripts >200 nucleotides long that do not encode proteins. Although critical roles in normal biology and disease have been revealed for a subset of lncRNAs, the function of the vast majority remains untested. We developed a CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) platform targeting 16,401 lncRNA loci in seven diverse cell lines, including six transformed cell lines and human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Large-scale screening identified 499 lncRNA loci required for robust cellular growth, of which 89% showed growth-modifying function exclusively in one cell type. We further found that lncRNA knockdown can perturb complex transcriptional networks in a cell type-specific manner. These data underscore the functional importance and cell type specificity of many lncRNAs.
Copyright © 2017, American Association for the Advancement of Science.