A lncRNA links genomic variation with celiac disease

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Science  01 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6281, pp. 43-44
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf6015

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The majority of human single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with increased disease risk map to noncoding regions of the genome. The nucleotide variations therefore cannot be directly related to changes in the function of proteins. Indeed, SNPs frequently localize to DNA regulatory elements such as enhancers or promoters, or within intergenic regions that are transcribed to produce long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). LncRNAs are RNA molecules longer than 200 nucleotides that do not encode proteins; in many instances, they regulate gene expression through diverse mechanisms. On page 91 of this issue, Castellanos-Rubio et al. (1) report that a relationship between the function of a lncRNA and the SNPs within its locus underlies celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes intolerance to gluten.