Divergent transcription of long noncoding RNA/mRNA gene pairs in embryonic stem cells.
Many long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) species have been identified in mammalian cells, but the genomic origin and regulation of these molecules in individual cell types is poorly understood. We have generated catalogs of lncRNA species expressed in human and murine embryonic stem cells and mapped their genomic origin. A surprisingly large fraction of these transcripts (>60%) originate from divergent transcription at promoters of active protein-coding genes. The divergently transcribed lncRNA/mRNA gene pairs exhibit coordinated changes in transcription when embryonic stem cells are differentiated into endoderm. Our results reveal that transcription of most lncRNA genes is coordinated with transcription of protein-coding genes.