Regulation of mammalian cell differentiation by long non-coding RNAs.
Differentiation of specialized cell types from stem and progenitor cells is tightly regulated at several levels, both during development and during somatic tissue homeostasis. Many long non-coding RNAs have been recognized as an additional layer of regulation in the specification of cellular identities; these non-coding species can modulate gene-expression programmes in various biological contexts through diverse mechanisms at the transcriptional, translational or messenger RNA stability levels. Here, we summarize findings that implicate long non-coding RNAs in the control of mammalian cell differentiation. We focus on several representative differentiation systems and discuss how specific long non-coding RNAs contribute to the regulation of mammalian development.