LINE-1 regulates cortical development by acting as long non-coding RNAs

Nat Commun. 2023 Aug 17;14(1):4974. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-40743-7.


Long Interspersed Nuclear Elements-1s (L1s) are transposable elements that constitute most of the genome's transcriptional output yet have still largely unknown functions. Here we show that L1s are required for proper mouse brain corticogenesis operating as regulatory long non-coding RNAs. They contribute to the regulation of the balance between neuronal progenitors and differentiation, the migration of post-mitotic neurons and the proportions of different cell types. In cortical cultured neurons, L1 RNAs are mainly associated to chromatin and interact with the Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) protein subunits enhancer of Zeste homolog 2 (Ezh2) and suppressor of zeste 12 (Suz12). L1 RNA silencing influences PRC2's ability to bind a portion of its targets and the deposition of tri-methylated histone H3 (H3K27me3) marks. Our results position L1 RNAs as crucial signalling hubs for genome-wide chromatin remodelling, enabling the fine-tuning of gene expression during brain development and evolution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly
  • Long Interspersed Nucleotide Elements* / genetics
  • Mice
  • RNA, Long Noncoding* / genetics


  • Chromatin
  • RNA, Long Noncoding