long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs):
A Vast and Promising Class of Therapeutic Targets
Historically, RNA has been thought of as a messenger whose role is to translate information from DNA into proteins. However, the vast majority of our DNA is copied into RNAs that do not make proteins. These RNA molecules, called non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), have now been shown to have an essential regulatory role in our cells by interacting with and modulating the activities of proteins that participate in critical cellular events. Our focus at NextRNA is lncRNAs, which account for the majority of ncRNAs.
lncRNAs exert their function through a variety of domain interactions with RNA-binding proteins (RBPs), RNA and DNA. The dysregulation of these interactions is implicated in multiple disease areas, including oncology, neurology, and immunology. As such, lncRNAs represent a vast and, to date, untapped class of therapeutic targets.
The key to understanding precisely how lncRNAs drive disease is by elucidating relevant domain interactions and what cellular processes they affect. In turn, small molecules can be designed to disrupt the function of disease-relevant lncRNAs.