The RNA HOTAIR Promotes Chromatin Alteration in Cancer

Author:  Elsa Axelsdottir

Long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) is an integral part of the transcriptome and provides a regulatory role in the inactivation of genes. By methylating chromatin, lncRNA can cause gene silencing and form heterochromatin. These transcripts can act both in-cis and in-trans; however, this review focuses on the specific lncRNA: HOX transcript antisense intergenic RNA (HOTAIR) in-trans. The long RNA sequence of HOTAIR binds to the HOX C locus and consequently silences chromatin at the HOX D locus. This silencing has shown to be indicative of specific cancers and their progression. In this review, HOTAIR’s involvement in cancer is discussed. Here, evidence for the direct relationship between the over expression of HOTAIR and an individual’s tumour progression into metastasis is presented.