Epigenetics Podcast

Discover the stories behind the science!



episode 78: The Effect of lncRNAs on Chromatin and Gene Regulation (John Rinn)

In this episode of the Epigenetics Podcast, we caught up with John Rinn from the University of Colorado in Boulder to talk about his work on the role of lncRNAs in gene expression and nuclear organization.

The Rinn Lab pioneered the approach of screening the human genome for long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). More recently, the lab has shifted focus from measuring the number of lncRNAs to finding lncRNAs that have a distinct biological function in human health and disease. One example of such a lncRNA is FIRRE, which is present in all animals, however the sequence is not conserved, except for in primates. FIRRE contains many interesting features, such as repeat sequences and CTCF binding sites. In absence of FIRRE, defects in the immune system can be observed and also some brain defects may also be observed.



  • Carter, T., Singh, M., Dumbovic, G., Chobirko, J. D., Rinn, J. L., & Feschotte, C. (2022). Mosaic cis-regulatory evolution drives transcriptional partitioning of HERVH endogenous retrovirus in the human embryo. eLife, 11, e76257. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.76257

  • Long, Y., Hwang, T., Gooding, A. R., Goodrich, K. J., Rinn, J. L., & Cech, T. R. (2020). RNA is essential for PRC2 chromatin occupancy and function in human pluripotent stem cells. Nature Genetics, 52(9), 931–938. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-0662-x

  • Kelley, D., & Rinn, J. (2012). Transposable elements reveal a stem cell-specific class of long noncoding RNAs. Genome biology, 13(11), R107. https://doi.org/10.1186/gb-2012-13-11-r107

  • Khalil, A. M., Guttman, M., Huarte, M., Garber, M., Raj, A., Rivea Morales, D., Thomas, K., Presser, A., Bernstein, B. E., van Oudenaarden, A., Regev, A., Lander, E. S., & Rinn, J. L. (2009). Many human large intergenic noncoding RNAs associate with chromatin-modifying complexes and affect gene expression. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(28), 11667–11672. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0904715106

  • Guttman, M., Amit, I., Garber, M., French, C., Lin, M. F., Feldser, D., Huarte, M., Zuk, O., Carey, B. W., Cassady, J. P., Cabili, M. N., Jaenisch, R., Mikkelsen, T. S., Jacks, T., Hacohen, N., Bernstein, B. E., Kellis, M., Regev, A., Rinn, J. L., & Lander, E. S. (2009). Chromatin signature reveals over a thousand highly conserved large non-coding RNAs in mammals. Nature, 458(7235), 223–227. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature07672


Related Episodes

  • The Role of lncRNAs in Tumor Growth and Treatment (Sarah Diermeier)

  • The Role of Small RNAs in Transgenerational Inheritance in C. elegans (Oded Rechavi)

  • Chromatin Structure and Dynamics at Ribosomal RNA Genes (Tom Moss)



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 2022-06-30  50m