Protection against infection and maintenance of homeostasis are the hallmarks of the innate immune system. An inducible program of inflammatory gene expression is central to anti-microbial defenses and while acute inflammation is mostly beneficial, uncontrolled inflammation can have devastating consequences leading to a wide range of diseases such as Arthritis, Systemic Lupus Erythematous and Cancer. Given the significance of these devastating diseases, new approaches to understanding pathology and gene mechanism are needed.
One of the most fascinating findings following the sequencing of the human genome is that less than 3% of the genome codes for protein coding exons. It is now appreciated that over 85% of the genome is actively transcribed and the biggest challenge we are faced with is to understand the functional role for these transcripts. Long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) represent the largest class of RNA transcripts produced from the genome. lncRNA are defined as transcripts greater than 200 nucleotides in length lacking protein-coding exons. In recent years lncRNAs have emerged as major regulators of chromatin remodeling, transcription and post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression in diverse biological contexts. Our goal is to understand the functions for lncRNA within Innate Immunity.