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Early reports indicate that long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are novel regulators of biological responses. However, their role in the human innate immune response, which provides the initial defence against infection, is largely unexplored. To address this issue, here we characterize the long non-coding RNA transcriptome in primary human monocytes using RNA sequencing. We identify 76 enhancer RNAs (eRNAs), 40 canonical lncRNAs, 65 antisense lncRNAs and 35 regions of bidirectional transcription (RBT) that are differentially expressed in response to bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Crucially, we demonstrate that knockdown of nuclear-localized, NF-κB-regulated, eRNAs (IL1β-eRNA) and RBT (IL1β-RBT46) surrounding the IL1β locus, attenuates LPS-induced messenger RNA transcription and release of the proinflammatory mediators, IL1β and CXCL8. We predict that lncRNAs can be important regulators of the human innate immune response.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat commun

Publication Date





Binding Sites, Enhancer Elements, Genetic, Humans, Immunity, Innate, Inflammation, Lipopolysaccharides, Monocytes, NF-kappa B, Promoter Regions, Genetic, RNA, RNA, Long Noncoding, Transcription, Genetic