Long non-coding RNAs in stem cell pluripotency

Shi-Yan Ng, Lawrence W Stanton
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews. RNA 2013, 4 (1): 121-8
Pluripotency refers to the self-renewal of undifferentiated embryonic stem cells (ESCs), and is maintained by a tightly regulated gene regulatory network involving an intricate interplay between transcription factors and their genomic targets, as well as epigenetic processes that influence gene expression. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are newly discovered members of gene regulatory networks that govern a variety of cell functions. Defined as RNA transcripts larger than 200 nucleotides, lncRNAs have little or no protein-coding capacity and have been shown to act via various mechanisms, and are important in a variety of biological functions. Recent reports have described the discovery of pluripotent lncRNAs involved in the maintenance and induction of stem cell pluripotency. Here, we discuss how lncRNAs may integrate into the pluripotency network, as well as prominent questions in this emerging field.

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