A major shift in our understanding of genome regulation has emerged recently. It is now apparent that the majority of cellular transcripts do not code for proteins, and many of them are long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). Increasingly, studies suggest that lncRNAs regulate gene expression through diverse mechanisms. We review emerging mechanistic views of lncRNAs in gene regulation in the cell nucleus. We discuss the functional interactions that lncRNAs establish with other molecules as well as the relationship between lncRNA transcription and function. While some of these mechanisms are specific to lncRNAs, others might be shared with other types of genes.