Adam M Jenkins, Robert M Waterhouse, Alan S Kopin, Marc A.T. Muskavitch
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are mRNA-like transcripts longer than 200 bp that have no protein-coding potential. lncRNAs have recently been implicated in epigenetic regulation, transcriptional and post-transcriptional gene regulation, and regulation of genomic stability in mammals, Caenorhabditis elegans, and Drosophila melanogaster. Using deep RNA sequencing of multiple Anopheles gambiae life stages, we have identified over 600 novel lncRNAs and more than 200 previously unannotated putative protein-coding genes. The lncRNAs exhibit differential expression profiles across life stages and adult genders. Those lncRNAs that are antisense to known protein-coding genes or are contained within intronic regions of protein-coding genes may mediate transcriptional repression or stabilization of associated mRNAs. lncRNAs exhibit faster rates of sequence evolution across anophelines compared to previously known and newly identified protein-coding genes. This initial description of lncRNAs in An. gambiae offers the first genome-wide insights into long non-coding RNAs in this vector mosquito and defines a novel set of potential targets for the development of vector-based interventions that may curb the human malaria burden in disease-endemic countries.