The functions and unique features of long intergenic non-coding RNA

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2018 Mar;19(3):143-157. doi: 10.1038/nrm.2017.104. Epub 2017 Nov 15.


Long intergenic non-coding RNA (lincRNA) genes have diverse features that distinguish them from mRNA-encoding genes and exercise functions such as remodelling chromatin and genome architecture, RNA stabilization and transcription regulation, including enhancer-associated activity. Some genes currently annotated as encoding lincRNAs include small open reading frames (smORFs) and encode functional peptides and thus may be more properly classified as coding RNAs. lincRNAs may broadly serve to fine-tune the expression of neighbouring genes with remarkable tissue specificity through a diversity of mechanisms, highlighting our rapidly evolving understanding of the non-coding genome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Genetic
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Organ Specificity
  • RNA Stability
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / chemistry
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics*
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / chemistry
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • RNA, Messenger