The first step of gene expression, the process of producing proteins from the genetic blueprint of DNA, is the production of an RNA molecule. This RNA is then used as an intermediary working model from which the final protein is produced. Non-coding RNA molecules are those that do not translate into a protein, but otherwise serve one of a wide variety of purposes in the cell. Many of these non-coding RNA molecules are in some way involved in regulating gene expression; the production of proteins in a cell is a highly complex, many-layered, and dynamic collection of processes. It is also far from being completely mapped in detail in its youthful, fully functional state, never mind the countless changes to that state that take place in reaction to the accumulating molecular damage of aging. There is much yet to be discovered about the roles played by specific RNA molecules in cellular metabolism and its alterations over the course of aging.
Alterations in the aging brain include changes in the epigenetics and transcription of both coding and non-coding regions of the genome. Among non-coding transcripts, long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have recently emerged as key