The diverse functions of noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) can influence virtually every aspect of the transcriptional process including epigenetic regulation of genes. In the CNS, regulatory RNA networks and epigenetic mechanisms have broad relevance to gene transcription changes involved in long-term memory formation and cognition. Thus, it is becoming increasingly clear that multiple classes of ncRNAs impact neuronal development, neuroplasticity, and cognition. Currently, a large gap exists in our knowledge of how ncRNAs facilitate epigenetic processes, and how this phenomenon affects cognitive function. In this review, we discuss recent findings highlighting a provocative role for ncRNAs including lncRNAs and piRNAs in the control of epigenetic mechanisms involved in cognitive function. Furthermore, we discuss the putative roles for these ncRNAs in cognitive disorders such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.
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