Long non-coding RNAs and the regulation of the immune response


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Mark Lindsay1
1University of Bath

Abstract

The first draft of the human genome uncovered a number of surprises including the observation that exonic regions of protein coding genes represented < 2% of the genome. Whilst some of the remaining DNA plays a crucial role in the maintenance of DNA structure and regulation of mRNA expression (i.e. transcription binding sites, promoter and enhancer regions), subsequent studies have shown that a significant proportion is transcribed into non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). ncRNAs are broadly classified as either short ncRNAs (< 200 nucleotides) or long ncRNAs (> 200 nucleotides). The microRNA (miRNA) family of short ncRNAs are the best characterised and known to regulate gene expression via RNA interference pathway. In contrast, much less is known about the function and mechanism of action of lncRNAs despite the fact that > 27,000 have now been annotated in human. Cancer is commonly associated with an aberrant immune response include chronic inflammation and immunological tolerance. This presentation will provide an overview of our current understanding of the biology of lncRNAs and describe their role in the regulation of the immune response and inflammation.

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