Preprint Review Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Emerging Roles of Long Non-Coding RNAs as Drivers of Brain Evolution

Version 1 : Received: 1 November 2019 / Approved: 4 November 2019 / Online: 4 November 2019 (03:06:01 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Zimmer-Bensch, G. Emerging Roles of Long Non-Coding RNAs as Drivers of Brain Evolution. Cells 2019, 8, 1399. Zimmer-Bensch, G. Emerging Roles of Long Non-Coding RNAs as Drivers of Brain Evolution. Cells 2019, 8, 1399.

Journal reference: Cells 2019, 8, 1399
DOI: 10.3390/cells8111399

Abstract

Mammalian genomes encode tens of thousands of long-noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), which are capable of interactions with DNA, RNA and protein molecules, thereby enabling a variety of transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulatory activities. Strikingly, about 40% of lncRNAs are expressed specifically in the brain in precisely regulated temporal and spatial expression patterns. In stark contrast to the highly conserved repertoire of protein-coding genes, thousands of new lncRNAs have appeared during primate nervous system evolution with hundreds of human-specific lncRNAs. Their evolvable nature and the myriad of potential functions make lncRNAs ideal candidates for drivers of human brain evolution. The human brain displays the largest relative volume of any animal species and the most remarkable cognitive abilities. In addition to brain size, structural reorganization and adaptive changes represent crucial hallmarks of human brain evolution. LncRNAs are increasingly reported to be involved in neurodevelopmental processes including proliferation, neurite outgrowth and synaptogenesis, as well as in neuroplasticity, suggested to underlie human brain evolution. Hence, evolutionary human brain adaptations are proposed to be essentially driven by lncRNAs, which will be discussed in this review.

Subject Areas

lncRNA; translation; transcription; splicing; brain; cerebral cortex; neurogenesis; synaptic plasticity; neurons

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