Pelechano V, Steinmetz LM
Nat Rev Genet 14 (12) 880-893 [2013-12-00; online 2013-11-12]
Antisense transcription, which was initially considered by many as transcriptional noise, is increasingly being recognized as an important regulator of gene expression. It is widespread among all kingdoms of life and has been shown to influence - either through the act of transcription or through the non-coding RNA that is produced - almost all stages of gene expression, from transcription and translation to RNA degradation. Antisense transcription can function as a fast evolving regulatory switch and a modular scaffold for protein complexes, and it can 'rewire' regulatory networks. The genomic arrangement of antisense RNAs opposite sense genes indicates that they might be part of self-regulatory circuits that allow genes to regulate their own expression.