Long noncoding RNAs in the yeast S. Cerevisiae

Rachel O. Niederer, Evan P. Hass, David Zappulla

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Long noncoding RNAs have recently been discovered to comprise a sizeable fraction of the RNA World. The scope of their functions, physical organization, and disease relevance remain in the early stages of characterization. Although many thousands of lncRNA transcripts recently have been found to emanate from the expansive DNA between protein-coding genes in animals, there are also hundreds that have been found in simple eukaryotes. Furthermore, lncRNAs have been found in the bacterial and archaeal branches of the tree of life, suggesting they are ubiquitous. In this chapter, we focus primarily on what has been learned so far about lncRNAs from the greatly studied single-celled eukaryote, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Most lncRNAs examined in yeast have been implicated in transcriptional regulation of protein-coding genes—often in response to forms of stress—whereas a select few have been ascribed yet other functions. Of those known to be involved in transcriptional regulation of protein-coding genes, the vast majority function in cis. There are also some yeast lncRNAs identified that are not directly involved in regulation of transcription. Examples of these include the telomerase RNA and telomere-encoded transcripts. In addition to its role as a template-encoding telomeric DNA synthesis, telomerase RNA has been shown to function as a flexible scaffold for protein subunits of the RNP holoenzyme. The flexible scaffold model provides a specific mechanistic paradigm that is likely to apply to many other lncRNAs that assemble and orchestrate large RNP complexes, even in humans. Looking to the future, it is clear that considerable fundamental knowledge remains to be obtained about the architecture and functions of lncRNAs. Using genetically tractable unicellular model organisms should facilitate lncRNA characterization. The acquired basic knowledge will ultimately translate to better understanding of the growing list of lncRNAs linked to human maladies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages14
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


  • CDC28
  • GAL10
  • IRT1
  • lncRNA
  • Long noncoding RNA
  • pHO
  • PHO84
  • RME2
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • SRG1
  • Telomerase RNA
  • TLC1
  • Yeast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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