(MYO)SLIDing Our Way Into the Vascular Pool of Long Noncoding RNAs
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Emerging evidence has pointed to the importance of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) in biological function and disease. However, lncRNAs remain largely unexploited in the vascular system. In this issue of ATVB, Zhao et al1 identified a novel vascular smooth muscle cell–specific lncRNA, Myoslid. The investigators demonstrated that Myoslid, whose expression is transcriptionally controlled by serum response factor and myocardin (MYOCD), regulates smooth muscle cell proliferation and differentiation program, at least in part, by modulating the transforming growth factor (TGF)-β pathway. This study has uncovered the involvement of noncoding RNAs in the already complicated gene regulatory networks in vascular biology, highlighting the potential of lncRNAs as novel therapeutic targets for cardiovascular disorders.
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Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Over the past decades, intense studies on key molecules that control gene expression (transcription factors and epigenetic regulators) and signaling pathways (eg, the TGF-β, Notch, Hippo pathways) have led to a fundamental understanding of the regulatory mechanisms for cell proliferation, differentiation, migration, and apoptosis in the cardiovascular system, resulting in the identification of potential therapeutic targets for cardiovascular diseases. Despite these advances, a deeper understanding of the intricate layers of gene regulation and molecular mechanisms by which …