The how and why of lncRNA function: An innate immune perspective

Biochim Biophys Acta Gene Regul Mech. 2020 Apr;1863(4):194419. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2019.194419. Epub 2019 Sep 2.


Next-generation sequencing has provided a more complete picture of the composition of the human transcriptome indicating that much of the "blueprint" is a vastness of poorly understood non-protein-coding transcripts. This includes a newly identified class of genes called long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). The lack of sequence conservation for lncRNAs across species meant that their biological importance was initially met with some skepticism. LncRNAs mediate their functions through interactions with proteins, RNA, DNA, or a combination of these. Their functions can often be dictated by their localization, sequence, and/or secondary structure. Here we provide a review of the approaches typically adopted to study the complexity of these genes with an emphasis on recent discoveries within the innate immune field. Finally, we discuss the challenges, as well as the emergence of new technologies that will continue to move this field forward and provide greater insight into the biological importance of this class of genes. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: ncRNA in control of gene expression edited by Kotb Abdelmohsen.

Keywords: ATAC-sequencing; Autoimmunity; ChIP-sequencing; Inflammation; Interferon (IFN); Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs); Macrophages; RNA-sequencing; Toll-like receptors (TLRs).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / genetics*
  • Mice
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / chemistry
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / metabolism*


  • RNA, Long Noncoding