UMMS Affiliation

Program in Systems Biology; Program in Gene Function and Expression

Publication Date


Document Type



Gene Expression Regulation


Genetics and Genomics


Recent advances in sequencing technologies have uncovered a world of RNAs that do not code for proteins, known as non-protein coding RNAs, that play important roles in gene regulation. Along with histone modifications and transcription factors, non-coding RNA is part of a layer of transcriptional control on top of the DNA code. This layer of components and their interactions specifically enables (or disables) the modulation of three-dimensional folding of chromatin to create a context for transcriptional regulation that underlies cell-specific transcription. In this perspective, we propose a structural and functional hierarchy, in which the DNA code, proteins and non-coding RNAs act as context creators to fold chromosomes and regulate genes.

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This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. You may not use this work for commercial purposes.

DOI of Published Version



F1000 Biology Reports 2012, 4:8 (doi:10.3410/B4-8). Link to article on publisher's website

Journal/Book/Conference Title

F1000 biology reports

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID