Natural antisense transcripts in diseases: From modes of action to targeted therapies

Wiley Interdiscip Rev RNA. 2018 Mar;9(2):e1461. doi: 10.1002/wrna.1461. Epub 2018 Jan 17.


Antisense transcription is a widespread phenomenon in mammalian genomes, leading to production of RNAs molecules referred to as natural antisense transcripts (NATs). NATs apply diverse transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms to carry out a wide variety of biological roles that are important for the normal functioning of living cells, but their dysfunctions can be associated with human diseases. In this review, we attempt to provide a molecular basis for the involvement of NATs in the etiology of human disorders such as cancers and neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases. We also discuss the pros and cons of oligonucleotide-based therapies targeted against NATs, and we comment on state-of-the-art progress in this promising area of clinical research. WIREs RNA 2018, 9:e1461. doi: 10.1002/wrna.1461 This article is categorized under: RNA in Disease and Development > RNA in Disease Regulatory RNAs/RNAi/Riboswitches > Regulatory RNAs RNA Interactions with Proteins and Other Molecules > Small Molecule-RNA Interactions.

Keywords: NATs; antisense RNAs; antisense therapy; chromatin remodeling.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease / genetics
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • RNA, Antisense / genetics*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • RNA, Antisense