Long noncoding RNA Chast promotes cardiac remodeling

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Science Translational Medicine  17 Feb 2016:
Vol. 8, Issue 326, pp. 326ra22
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf1475

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The missing lnc in cardiac hypertrophy

RNA that does not code for a protein comprises a large portion of the human genome. These so-called noncoding RNAs are emerging as important players in disease pathogenesis, yet their functional roles are not always well known. Viereck et al. have discovered a new long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) that promotes cardiac remodeling and hypertrophy in mice, which could one day be targeted with therapeutics to treat human cardiovascular diseases. The identified lncRNA, which the authors named Chast (for “cardiac hypertrophy–associated transcript”), was discovered to be up-regulated in hypertrophic mouse hearts. When mouse and human heart cells expressed Chast, they tended to be larger than their normal counterparts. By silencing Chast with antisense oligonucleotides, mice either did not develop hypertrophy or were rescued from established disease. In a step toward translation, the authors discovered a human homolog, CHAST, that similarly caused cells in a dish to enlarge. Additional investigation in patients will confirm the relevance of this lncRNA in human disease and whether it is indeed a promising target for treating cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure.