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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The interplay of long non-coding RNAs and MYC in cancer.

  • Author(s): Hamilton, Michael J
  • Young, Matthew D
  • Sauer, Silvia
  • Martinez, Ernest
  • et al.

Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are a class of RNA molecules that are changing how researchers view eukaryotic gene regulation. Once considered to be non-functional products of low-level aberrant transcription from non-coding regions of the genome, lncRNAs are now viewed as important epigenetic regulators and several lncRNAs have now been demonstrated to be critical players in the development and/or maintenance of cancer. Similarly, the emerging variety of interactions between lncRNAs and MYC, a well-known oncogenic transcription factor linked to most types of cancer, have caught the attention of many biomedical researchers. Investigations exploring the dynamic interactions between lncRNAs and MYC, referred to as the lncRNA-MYC network, have proven to be especially complex. Genome-wide studies have shown that MYC transcriptionally regulates many lncRNA genes. Conversely, recent reports identified lncRNAs that regulate MYC expression both at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. These findings are of particular interest because they suggest roles of lncRNAs as regulators of MYC oncogenic functions and the possibility that targeting lncRNAs could represent a novel avenue to cancer treatment. Here, we briefly review the current understanding of how lncRNAs regulate chromatin structure and gene transcription, and then focus on the new developments in the emerging field exploring the lncRNA-MYC network in cancer.

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