Enhancer RNAs (eRNAs) are non-coding RNAs transcribed from distal cis-regulatory elements (i.e. enhancers), which are stereotyped as short, rarely spliced and unstable. In fact, a non-negligible fraction of eRNAs seems to be longer, spliced and more stable, and their cognate enhancers are epigenomically and functionally distinguishable from typical enhancers. In this review, we first summarized the genomic and molecular origins underlying the observed heterogeneity among eRNAs. Then, we discussed how their heterogeneous properties (e.g. stability) affect the modes of interaction with their regulatory partners, from promiscuous cis-interactions to specific trans-interactions. Finally, we highlighted the existence of a seemingly continuous spectrum of eRNA properties and its implications in the genomic origins of non-coding RNA genes from an evolutionary perspective.

You do not currently have access to this content.