Unexpected noncoding RNA roles in the regulation of the cancer genome
CIMA, University of Navarra
A major shift in our conception of genome regulation has emerged in recent years. It is now obvious that the majority of cellular transcripts do not code for proteins, and a very significant subset of them are long RNAs (lncRNAs). Many lncRNAs have been shown to be functional, emerging as important regulatory molecules in tumor- suppressor and oncogenic pathways. For instance, we found that the transcription factor p53, which is crucial for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis, specifically regulates the expression of dozens of lncRNAs that constitute active components of this important tumor suppressor pathway. We found that some lncRNAs act at the chromatin level, not only influencing gene expression but also DNA replication and genomic integrity, representing a novel aspect of genome regulation and placing lncRNAs at the focal point of cancer biology. I will present our findings implicating lncRNAs in the regulation of these key aspects of cell division and stress response, with
particular attention to the molecular mechanisms that underlie their function.