The global landscape of intron retentions in lung adenocarcinoma.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:The transcriptome complexity in an organism can be achieved by alternative splicing of precursor messenger RNAs. It has been revealed that alternations in mRNA splicing play an important role in a number of diseases including human cancers. METHODS:In this study, we exploited whole transcriptome sequencing data from five lung adenocarcinoma tissues and their matched normal tissues to interrogate intron retention, a less studied alternative splicing form which has profound structural and functional consequence by modifying open reading frame or inserting premature stop codons. RESULTS:Abundant intron retention events were found in both tumor and normal tissues, and 2,340 and 1,422 genes only contain tumor-specific retentions and normal-specific retentions, respectively. Combined with gene expression analysis, we showed that genes with tumor-specific retentions tend to be over-expressed in tumors, and the abundance of intron retention within genes is negatively related with gene expression, indicating the action of nonsense mediated decay. Further functional analysis demonstrated that genes with tumor-specific retentions include known lung cancer driver genes and are found enriched in pathways important in carcinogenesis. CONCLUSIONS:We hypothesize that intron retentions and consequent nonsense mediated decay may collectively counteract the over-expression of genes promoting cancer development. Identification of genes with tumor-specific retentions may also help develop targeted therapies.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Alternatively-spliced (AS) forms can vary protein function, intracellular localization and post-translational modifications. AS coupled with mRNA nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) can also control the transcript abundance. Here, we have investigated the genome-scale conservation of alternatively-spliced NMD candidates (AS-NMD candidates), in mammals. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We mapped>12 million cDNA/EST library transcripts, comprising pooled data from both older and next-generation sequencing techniques, against genomic sequences to annotate AS-NMD candidates generated by in-frame premature termination codons (PTCs), in the human, mouse, rat and cow genomes. In these genomes, we found populations of genes that harbour AS-NMD candidates, varying in number from approximately 149 to 2,051 genes. We discovered that a highly-significant proportion (27%-35%) of AS-NMD candidate genes in mouse, rat and cow, also have human orthologs targeted for NMD. Intron retention was the most abundant type of AS-NMD, ranging from 43% to 67% of genes harbouring an AS-NMD candidate. Groupings of AS-NMD candidate genes either with or without intron retentions also have highly significant AS-NMD conservation, indicating that the trend is not due primarily to conservation of intron retentions. As a subset, the AS-NMD intron retentions are distinguished from non-retained introns by higher GC content, and codon usage similar to the usage in protein-coding sequences. This indicates that most of these alternatively spliced sequences have coded for proteins in the recent evolutionary past. In general, the AS-NMD candidate genes showed a similar pattern of Gene Ontology functional category enrichments in all four species. Genes linked to nucleic-acid interaction and apoptosis, and involved in pathways linked with cancer, were the most common. Finally, we mapped the AS-NMD candidates to mass spectrometry-derived proteomics data, and gathered evidence of truncated polypeptides for at least 10% of all human AS-NMD candidate transcripts. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: In summary, our analysis provides strong statistical evidence for conservation of functional AS-NMD candidature across Mammalia for a large subset of genes. However, because codon usage of AS-NMD intron retentions is similar to the usage in exons, it is difficult to de-couple conservation of AS-NMD-based regulation from conservation for protein-coding ability, for intron retentions.
Project description:Arginine and Glutamate-Rich protein 1 (ARGLU1) is a protein whose function is poorly understood, but may act in both transcription and pre-mRNA splicing. We demonstrate that the ARGLU1 gene expresses at least three distinct RNA splice isoforms - a fully spliced isoform coding for the protein, an isoform containing a retained intron that is detained in the nucleus, and an isoform containing an alternative exon that targets the transcript for nonsense mediated decay. Furthermore, ARGLU1 contains a long, highly evolutionarily conserved sequence known as an Ultraconserved Element (UCE) that is within the retained intron and overlaps the alternative exon. Manipulation of the UCE, in a reporter minigene or via random mutations in the genomic context using CRISPR/Cas9, changed the splicing pattern. Further, overexpression of the ARGLU1 protein shifted the splicing of endogenous ARGLU1 mRNA, resulting in an increase in the retained intron isoform and nonsense mediated decay susceptible isoform and a decrease in the fully spliced isoform. Taken together with data showing that functional protein knockout shifts splicing toward the fully spliced isoform, our data are consistent with a model in which unproductive splicing complexes assembled at the alternative exon lead to inefficient splicing and intron retention.
Project description:Alternative pre-mRNA splicing allows dramatic expansion of the eukaryotic proteome and facilitates cellular response to changes in environmental conditions. The Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene SUS1, which encodes a protein involved in mRNA export and histone H2B deubiquitination, contains two introns; non-canonical sequences in the first intron contribute to its retention, a common form of alternative splicing in plants and fungi. Here we show that the pattern of SUS1 splicing changes in response to environmental change such as temperature elevation, and the retained intron product is subject to nonsense-mediated decay. The activities of different splicing factors determine the pattern of SUS1 splicing, including intron retention and exon skipping. Unexpectedly, removal of the 3' intron is affected by splicing of the upstream intron, suggesting that cross-exon interactions influence intron removal. Production of different SUS1 isoforms is important for cellular function, as we find that the temperature sensitivity and histone H2B deubiquitination defects observed in sus1? cells are only partially suppressed by SUS1 cDNA, but SUS1 that is able to undergo splicing complements these phenotypes. These data illustrate a role for S. cerevisiae alternative splicing in histone modification and cellular function and reveal important mechanisms for splicing of yeast genes containing multiple introns.
Project description:During terminal erythropoiesis, the splicing machinery in differentiating erythroblasts executes a robust intron retention (IR) program that impacts expression of hundreds of genes. We studied IR mechanisms in the <i>SF3B1</i> splicing factor gene, which expresses ?50% of its transcripts in late erythroblasts as a nuclear isoform that retains intron 4. RNA-seq analysis of nonsense-mediated decay (NMD)-inhibited cells revealed previously undescribed splice junctions, rare or not detected in normal cells, that connect constitutive exons 4 and 5 to highly conserved cryptic cassette exons within the intron. Minigene splicing reporter assays showed that these cassettes promote IR. Genome-wide analysis of splice junction reads demonstrated that cryptic noncoding cassettes are much more common in large (>1 kb) retained introns than they are in small retained introns or in nonretained introns. Functional assays showed that heterologous cassettes can promote retention of intron 4 in the <i>SF3B1</i> splicing reporter. Although many of these cryptic exons were spliced inefficiently, they exhibited substantial binding of U2AF1 and U2AF2 adjacent to their splice acceptor sites. We propose that these exons function as decoys that engage the intron-terminal splice sites, thereby blocking cross-intron interactions required for excision. Developmental regulation of decoy function underlies a major component of the erythroblast IR program.
Project description:Chtop (chromatin target of Prmt1) regulates various aspects of gene expression including transcription and mRNA export. Despite these important functions, the regulatory mechanism underlying Chtop expression remains undetermined. Using Chtop-expressing human cell lines, we demonstrate that Chtop expression is controlled via an autoregulatory negative feedback loop whereby Chtop binds its own mRNA to retain intron 2 during splicing; a premature termination codon present at the 5' end of intron 2 leads to nonsense-mediated decay of the mRNA. We also show that Chtop interacts with exon 2 of Chtop mRNA via its arginine-glycine-rich (RG) domain, and with intron 2 via its N-terminal (N1) domain; both are required for retention of intron 2. In addition, we show that hnRNP H accelerates intron 2 splicing of Chtop mRNA in a manner dependent on Chtop expression level, suggesting that Chtop and hnRNP H regulate intron 2 retention of Chtop mRNA antagonistically. Thus, the present study provides a novel molecular mechanism by which mRNA and protein levels are constitutively regulated by intron retention.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Hemiascomycetous yeasts have intron-poor genomes with very few cases of alternative splicing. Most of the reported examples result from intron retention in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and some have been shown to be functionally significant. Here we used transcriptome-wide approaches to evaluate the mechanisms underlying the generation of alternative transcripts in Yarrowia lipolytica, a yeast highly divergent from S. cerevisiae. RESULTS: Experimental investigation of Y. lipolytica gene models identified several cases of alternative splicing, mostly generated by intron retention, principally affecting the first intron of the gene. The retention of introns almost invariably creates a premature termination codon, as a direct consequence of the structure of intron boundaries. An analysis of Y. lipolytica introns revealed that introns of multiples of three nucleotides in length, particularly those without stop codons, were underrepresented. In other organisms, premature termination codon-containing transcripts are targeted for degradation by the nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) machinery. In Y. lipolytica, homologs of S. cerevisiae UPF1 and UPF2 genes were identified, but not UPF3. The inactivation of Y. lipolytica UPF1 and UPF2 resulted in the accumulation of unspliced transcripts of a test set of genes. CONCLUSIONS: Y. lipolytica is the hemiascomycete with the most intron-rich genome sequenced to date, and it has several unusual genes with large introns or alternative transcription start sites, or introns in the 5' UTR. Our results suggest Y. lipolytica intron structure is subject to significant constraints, leading to the under-representation of stop-free introns. Consequently, intron-containing transcripts are degraded by a functional NMD pathway.
Project description:Dietary restriction (DR) increases life span through adaptive changes in gene expression. To understand more about these changes, we analyzed the transcriptome and translatome of Caenorhabditis elegans subjected to DR. Transcription of muscle regulatory and structural genes increased, whereas increased expression of amino acid metabolism and neuropeptide signaling genes was controlled at the level of translation. Evaluation of posttranscriptional regulation identified putative roles for RNA-binding proteins, RNA editing, miRNA, alternative splicing, and nonsense-mediated decay in response to nutrient limitation. Using RNA interference, we discovered several differentially expressed genes that regulate life span. We also found a compensatory role for translational regulation, which offsets dampened expression of a large subset of transcriptionally down-regulated genes. Furthermore, 3' UTR editing and intron retention increase under DR and correlate with diminished translation, whereas trans-spliced genes are refractory to reduced translation efficiency compared with messages with the native 5' UTR. Finally, we find that smg-6 and smg-7, which are genes governing selection and turnover of nonsense-mediated decay targets, are required for increased life span under DR.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and alcohol consumption are predominant causes of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the molecular mechanisms underlying how differently these causes are implicated in HCC development are not fully understood. Therefore, we investigated differential alternative splicing (AS) regulation among HCC patients with these risk factors. METHODS:We conducted a genome-wide survey of AS events associated with HCCs among HBV (n?=?95), HCV (n?=?47), or alcohol (n?=?76) using RNA-sequencing data obtained from The Cancer Genome Atlas. RESULTS:In three group comparisons of HBV vs. HCV, HBV vs. alcohol, and HCV vs. alcohol for RNA seq (?PSI>?0.05, FDR?<?0.05), 133, 93, and 29 differential AS events (143 genes) were identified, respectively. Of 143 AS genes, eight and one gene were alternatively spliced specific to HBV and HCV, respectively. Through functional analysis over the canonical pathways and gene ontologies, we identified significantly enriched pathways in 143 AS genes including immune system, mRNA splicing-major pathway, and nonsense-mediated decay, which may be important to carcinogenesis in HCC risk factors. Among eight genes with HBV-specific splicing events, HLA-A, HLA-C, and IP6K2 exhibited more differential expression of AS events (?PSI>?0.1). Intron retention of HLA-A was observed more frequently in HBV-associated HCC than HCV- or alcohol-associated HCC, and intron retention of HLA-C showed vice versa. Exon 3 (based on ENST00000432678) of IP6K2 was less skipped in HBV-associated in HCC compared to HCV- or alcohol-associated HCC. CONCLUSION:AS may play an important role in regulating transcription differences implicated in HBV-, HCV-, and alcohol-related HCC development.
Project description:Somatic mutations affecting components of the RNA splicing machinery occur with high frequencies across many tumor types. These mutations give rise to distinct alterations in normal splice site and exon recognition, such as unusual 3' splice site preferences, that likely contribute to tumorigenesis.We analyzed genome-wide patterns of RNA splicing across 805 matched tumor and normal control samples from 16 distinct cancer types to identify signals of abnormal cancer-associated splicing.We found that abnormal RNA splicing, typified by widespread intron retention, is common across cancers even in the absence of mutations directly affecting the RNA splicing machinery. Almost all liquid and solid cancer types exhibited frequent retention of both alternative and constitutive introns relative to control normal tissues. The sole exception was breast cancer, where intron retention typified adjacent normal rather than cancer tissue. Different introns were preferentially retained in specific cancer types, although a small subset of introns enriched for genes encoding RNA splicing and export factors exhibited frequent retention across diverse cancers. The extent of intron retention correlated with the presence of IDH1 and IDH2 mutations in acute myeloid leukemia and across molecular subtypes in breast cancer. Many introns that were preferentially retained in primary cancers were present at high levels in the cytoplasmic mRNA pools of cancer cell lines.Our data indicate that abnormal RNA splicing is a common characteristic of cancers even in the absence of mutational insults to the splicing machinery, and suggest that intron-containing mRNAs contribute to the transcriptional diversity of many cancers.
Project description:It is generally believed that introns are not translated; therefore, the potential intronic features that may be related to the translation step (occurring after splicing) have yet to be thoroughly studied. Here, focusing on four fungi, we performed for the first time a comprehensive study aimed at characterizing how translation efficiency is encoded in introns and affects their evolution. By analysing their intronome we provide evidence of selection for STOP codons close to the intronic 5' end, and show that the beginning of introns are selected for significantly high translation, presumably to reduce translation and metabolic costs in cases of non-spliced introns. Ribosomal profiling data analysis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae supports the conjecture that in this organism intron retention frequently occurs, introns are partially translated, and their translation efficiency affects organismal fitness. We show that the reported results are more significant in highly translated and highly spliced genes, but are not associated only with genes with a specific function. We also discuss the potential relation of the reported signals to efficient nonsense-mediated decay due to splicing errors. These new discoveries are supported by population-genetics considerations. In addition, they are contributory steps towards a broader understanding of intron evolution and the effect of silent mutations on gene expression and organismal fitness.