Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in neural development    

The mammalian genome transcribes many thousands of lncRNAs – transcripts >200 nucleotides long with no evidence of protein-coding potential, and it is now clear that lncRNAs can have critical biological functions and roles in human neurological disease.  In a genome-wide analysis of lncRNAs in an adult mouse brain germinal zone (Ramos et al, Cell Stem Cell 2013), we identified Pnky, a novel lncRNA transcript that is a potent regulator of neural stem cells in the embryonic and postnatal brain (Ramos, Andersen et al., Cell Stem Cell 2015). Using mass spectrometry, Western blot, and RNA immunoprecipitation analysis, we identified proteins that specifically interact with this lncRNA. "Traditional" mouse genetic approaches demonstrates that Pnky regulates brain development in trans (Andersen, Hong, et al., Dev Cell 2019).


We are continuing to investigate the structure and molecular mechanism of this powerful lncRNA.