Biochemistry, Department of


Date of this Version



Biochemical Journal (2017) 474 2925–2935 DOI: 10.1042/BCJ20170280


© 2017 The Author(s). This is an open access article published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society and distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND).


Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are emerging as critical regulators of various biological processes and human diseases. The mechanisms of action involve their interactions with proteins, RNA and genomic DNA. Most lncRNAs display strong nuclear localization. Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins (hnRNPs) are a large family of RNA-binding proteins that are important for multiple aspects of nucleic acid metabolism. hnRNPs are also predominantly expressed in the nucleus. This review discusses the interactions of lncRNAs and hnRNPs in regulating gene expression at transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels or by changing genomic structure, highlighting their involvements in glucose and lipid metabolism, immune response, DNA damage response, and other cellular functions. Toward the end, several techniques that are used to identify lncRNA binding partners are summarized. There are still many questions that need to be answered in this relatively new research area, which might provide novel targets to control the biological outputs of cells in response to different stimuli.