Long non-coding RNA in stem cell pluripotency and lineage commitment: functions and evolutionary conservation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


LncRNAs have recently emerged as new and fundamental transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulators acting at multiple levels of gene expression. Indeed, lncRNAs participate in a wide variety of stem cell and developmental processes, acting in cis and/or in trans in the nuclear and/or in the cytoplasmic compartments, and generating an intricate network of interactions with RNAs, enhancers, and chromatin-modifier complexes. Given the versatility of these molecules to operate in different subcellular compartments, via different modes of action and with different target specificity, the interest in this research field is rapidly growing. Here, we review recent progress in defining the functional role of lncRNAs in stem cell biology with a specific focus on the underlying mechanisms. We also discuss recent findings on a new family of evolutionary conserved lncRNAs transcribed from ultraconserved elements, which show perfect conservation between human, mouse, and rat genomes, and that are emerging as new player in this complex scenario.


External organisations
  • Institute of Genetics and Biophysics "A. Buzzati Traverso" (IGB-ABT)
Research areas and keywords


  • Embryonic stem cells, LncRNAs, T-UCEs, Ultraconserved elements
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1459-1471
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number8
Early online date2019 Jan 3
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch