This proposal requests support for a Keystone Symposia meeting entitled Non-Coding RNAs, organized by John S. Mattick, Jeannie T. Lee and Kevin V. Morris, which will be held in Snowbird, Utah from March 31 - April 5, 2012. It has become apparent that RNA plays a major, but still largely unexplored, role in the regulation of gene expression. It is becoming increasingly evident that longer forms of non-protein-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are involved directly in regulating gene expression and epigenetic states. These long ncRNAs appear to be functioning as an endogenous RNA regulatory system, playing a major role in the epigenetic control of differentiation and development. These observations, across various model systems, strongly suggest that long ncRNAs are more intricately involved in the regulation of gene expression than previously envisioned. The goal of the Keystone Symposia meeting on Non-Coding RNAs is to highlight the similarities and differences in various model systems to better understand the role long ncRNAs in the regulation of genomes. This is an entirely new emerging field of study that is on the forefront of modern biology. Opportunities for interdisciplinary interactions will be significantly enhanced by the concurrent meeting on Eukaryotic Transcription, which will share a plenary session with this meeting.
Emerging data implicate non-protein-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) in the regulation of gene expression during normal development and in complex diseases;and longer forms of ncRNAs appear to be more intricately involved in the regulation of gene expression - or the translation of information encoded in a gene into protein or RNA - than previously envisioned. The Keystone Symposia meeting on Non-Coding RNAs will address both the mechanisms of action whereby ncRNAs functionally regulate gene expression, as well as the deeper layer of complexity by which these RNAs function in cellular pathways and provide evolutionary opportunities.