Methods for distinguishing between protein-coding and long noncoding RNAs and the elusive biological purpose of translation of long noncoding RNAs

Gali Housman, Igor Ulitsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are a diverse class of RNAs with increasingly appreciated functions in vertebrates, yet much of their biology remains poorly understood. In particular, it is unclear to what extent the current catalog of over 10,000 annotated lncRNAs is indeed devoid of genes coding for proteins. Here we review the available computational and experimental schemes for distinguishing between coding and noncoding transcripts and assess the conclusions from their recent genome-wide applications. We conclude that the model most consistent with the available data is that a large number of mammalian lncRNAs undergo translation, but only a very small minority of such translation events results in stable and functional peptides. The outcomes of the majority of the translation events and their potential biological purposes remain an intriguing topic for future investigation. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Clues to long noncoding RNA taxonomy1, edited by Dr. Tetsuro Hirose and Dr. Shinichi Nakagawa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-40
Number of pages10
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms
Volume1859
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry

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