Antisense Transcription in the Mammalian Transcriptome
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Antisense transcription (transcription from the opposite strand to a protein-coding or sense strand) has been ascribed roles in gene regulation involving degradation of the corresponding sense transcripts (RNA interference), as well as gene silencing at the chromatin level. Global transcriptome analysis provides evidence that a large proportion of the genome can produce transcripts from both strands, and that antisense transcripts commonly link neighboring "genes" in complex loci into chains of linked transcriptional units. Expression profiling reveals frequent concordant regulation of sense/antisense pairs. We present experimental evidence that perturbation of an antisense RNA can alter the expression of sense messenger RNAs, suggesting that antisense transcription contributes to control of transcriptional outputs in mammals.