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The long noncoding RNA Hand2as orchestrates heart development through regulation of precise expression of HAND2

By Xue Han, Jiejie Zhang, Yaxi Liu, Xiaoying Fan, Shanshan Ai, Yingjie Luo, Xin Li, Sai Luo, Hui Zheng, Yanzhu Yue, Zai Chang, Zhongzhou Yang, Fuchou Tang, Aibin He, Xiaohua Shen

Posted 21 Nov 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/475723

Rigorous exploration and dissection of potential actions and effects of long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) in animals remain challenging. Here using multiple knockout mouse models and single-cell RNA sequencing, we demonstrate that the divergent lncRNA Hand2as has a key, complex modulatory effect on the expression of its neighboring gene HAND2 and subsequently on heart development and function, largely independent of Hand2as transcription and transcripts. Full-length deletion of Hand2as in mouse causes moderate yet prevalent upregulation of HAND2 in hundreds of cardiac cells, resulting in profound biological consequences, including dysregulated cardiac gene programs, congenital heart defects and perinatal lethality. We propose a cis-functional role for the Hand2as locus in dampening HAND2 expression to restrain cardiomyocyte proliferation, thereby orchestrating a balanced development of cardiac cell lineages. This study highlights the need for complementary genetic and single-cell approaches to delineate the function and primary molecular effects of an lncRNA in animals.

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