The double-edged sword of long non-coding RNA: The role of human brain-specific BC200 RNA in translational control, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer.
The gene encoding BC200 RNA arose from a monomeric Alu element. Subsequently, the RNA had been recruited or exapted into a function of the nervous system. Here we confirm the presence of the BC200 gene in several primate species among the Anthropoidea. The period following the divergence of New World monkeys and Old World monkeys from their common ancestor is characterized by a significantly higher substitution rate in the examined 5′ flanking region than in the BC200 RNA coding region itself. Furthermore, the conservation of CpG dimers in the RNA coding region (200 bp) is drastically increased compared to the 5′ flanking region (∼400 bp) over all 12 species examined. Finally, the brain-specific expression pattern of BC200 RNA and its presence as a ribonucleoprotein particle (RNP) are conserved in Old World and New World monkeys. Our studies indicate that the gene encoding BC200 RNA was created at least 35–55 million years ago and its presence, mode of expression, and association with protein(s) as an RNP are under selective pressure.