September 22, 2019  |  

Transcriptome sequencing reveals thousands of novel long non-coding RNAs in B cell lymphoma.

Gene profiling of diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) has revealed broad gene expression deregulation compared to normal B cells. While many studies have interrogated well known and annotated genes in DLBCL, none have yet performed a systematic analysis to uncover novel unannotated long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA) in DLBCL. In this study we sought to uncover these lncRNAs by examining RNA-seq data from primary DLBCL tumors and performed supporting analysis to identify potential role of these lncRNAs in DLBCL.We performed a systematic analysis of novel lncRNAs from the poly-adenylated transcriptome of 116 primary DLBCL samples. RNA-seq data were processed using de novo transcript assembly pipeline to discover novel lncRNAs in DLBCL. Systematic functional, mutational, cross-species, and co-expression analyses using numerous bioinformatics tools and statistical analysis were performed to characterize these novel lncRNAs.We identified 2,632 novel, multi-exonic lncRNAs expressed in more than one tumor, two-thirds of which are not expressed in normal B cells. Long read single molecule sequencing supports the splicing structure of many of these lncRNAs. More than one-third of novel lncRNAs are differentially expressed between the two major DLBCL subtypes, ABC and GCB. Novel lncRNAs are enriched at DLBCL super-enhancers, with a fraction of them conserved between human and dog lymphomas. We see transposable elements (TE) overlap in the exonic regions; particularly significant in the last exon of the novel lncRNAs suggest potential usage of cryptic TE polyadenylation signals. We identified highly co-expressed protein coding genes for at least 88 % of the novel lncRNAs. Functional enrichment analysis of co-expressed genes predicts a potential function for about half of novel lncRNAs. Finally, systematic structural analysis of candidate point mutations (SNVs) suggests that such mutations frequently stabilize lncRNA structures instead of destabilizing them.Discovery of these 2,632 novel lncRNAs in DLBCL significantly expands the lymphoma transcriptome and our analysis identifies potential roles of these lncRNAs in lymphomagenesis and/or tumor maintenance. For further studies, these novel lncRNAs also provide an abundant source of new targets for antisense oligonucleotide pharmacology, including shared targets between human and dog lymphomas.


September 22, 2019  |  

Long read reference genome-free reconstruction of a full-length transcriptome from Astragalus membranaceus reveals transcript variants involved in bioactive compound biosynthesis.

Astragalus membranaceus, also known as Huangqi in China, is one of the most widely used medicinal herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine formulations from Astragalus membranaceus have been used to treat a wide range of illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, nephritis and cancers. Pharmacological studies have shown that immunomodulating, anti-hyperglycemic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiviral activities exist in the extract of Astragalus membranaceus. Therefore, characterising the biosynthesis of bioactive compounds in Astragalus membranaceus, such as Astragalosides, Calycosin and Calycosin-7-O-ß-d-glucoside, is of particular importance for further genetic studies of Astragalus membranaceus. In this study, we reconstructed the Astragalus membranaceus full-length transcriptomes from leaf and root tissues using PacBio Iso-Seq long reads. We identified 27 975 and 22 343 full-length unique transcript models in each tissue respectively. Compared with previous studies that used short read sequencing, our reconstructed transcripts are longer, and are more likely to be full-length and include numerous transcript variants. Moreover, we also re-characterised and identified potential transcript variants of genes involved in Astragalosides, Calycosin and Calycosin-7-O-ß-d-glucoside biosynthesis. In conclusion, our study provides a practical pipeline to characterise the full-length transcriptome for species without a reference genome and a useful genomic resource for exploring the biosynthesis of active compounds in Astragalus membranaceus.


September 22, 2019  |  

Functional mitochondria in health and disease.

The ability to rapidly adapt cellular bioenergetic capabilities to meet rapidly changing environmental conditions is mandatory for normal cellular function and for cancer progression. Any loss of this adaptive response has the potential to compromise cellular function and render the cell more susceptible to external stressors such as oxidative stress, radiation, chemotherapeutic drugs, and hypoxia. Mitochondria play a vital role in bioenergetic and biosynthetic pathways and can rapidly adjust to meet the metabolic needs of the cell. Increased demand is met by mitochondrial biogenesis and fusion of individual mitochondria into dynamic networks, whereas a decrease in demand results in the removal of superfluous mitochondria through fission and mitophagy. Effective communication between nucleus and mitochondria (mito-nuclear cross talk), involving the generation of different mitochondrial stress signals as well as the nuclear stress response pathways to deal with these stressors, maintains bioenergetic homeostasis under most conditions. However, when mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations accumulate and mito-nuclear cross talk falters, mitochondria fail to deliver critical functional outputs. Mutations in mtDNA have been implicated in neuromuscular and neurodegenerative mitochondriopathies and complex diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, gastrointestinal disorders, skin disorders, aging, and cancer. In some cases, drastic measures such as acquisition of new mitochondria from donor cells occurs to ensure cell survival. This review starts with a brief discussion of the evolutionary origin of mitochondria and summarizes how mutations in mtDNA lead to mitochondriopathies and other degenerative diseases. Mito-nuclear cross talk, including various stress signals generated by mitochondria and corresponding stress response pathways activated by the nucleus are summarized. We also introduce and discuss a small family of recently discovered hormone-like mitopeptides that modulate body metabolism. Under conditions of severe mitochondrial stress, mitochondria have been shown to traffic between cells, replacing mitochondria in cells with damaged and malfunctional mtDNA. Understanding the processes involved in cellular bioenergetics and metabolic adaptation has the potential to generate new knowledge that will lead to improved treatment of many of the metabolic, degenerative, and age-related inflammatory diseases that characterize modern societies.


September 22, 2019  |  

Cell-type-specific splicing of Piezo2 regulates mechanotransduction.

Piezo2 is a mechanically activated ion channel required for touch discrimination, vibration detection, and proprioception. Here, we discovered that Piezo2 is extensively spliced, producing different Piezo2 isoforms with distinct properties. Sensory neurons from both mice and humans express a large repertoire of Piezo2 variants, whereas non-neuronal tissues express predominantly a single isoform. Notably, even within sensory ganglia, we demonstrate the splicing of Piezo2 to be cell type specific. Biophysical characterization revealed substantial differences in ion permeability, sensitivity to calcium modulation, and inactivation kinetics among Piezo2 splice variants. Together, our results describe, at the molecular level, a potential mechanism by which transduction is tuned, permitting the detection of a variety of mechanosensory stimuli. Published by Elsevier Inc.


September 22, 2019  |  

Isoform evolution in primates through independent combination of alternative RNA processing events.

Recent RNA-seq technology revealed thousands of splicing events that are under rapid evolution in primates, whereas the reliability of these events, as well as their combination on the isoform level, have not been adequately addressed due to its limited sequencing length. Here, we performed comparative transcriptome analyses in human and rhesus macaque cerebellum using single molecule long-read sequencing (Iso-seq) and matched RNA-seq. Besides 359 million RNA-seq reads, 4,165,527 Iso-seq reads were generated with a mean length of 14,875?bp, covering 11,466 human genes, and 10,159 macaque genes. With Iso-seq data, we substantially expanded the repertoire of alternative RNA processing events in primates, and found that intron retention and alternative polyadenylation are surprisingly more prevalent in primates than previously estimated. We then investigated the combinatorial mode of these alternative events at the whole-transcript level, and found that the combination of these events is largely independent along the transcript, leading to thousands of novel isoforms missed by current annotations. Notably, these novel isoforms are selectively constrained in general, and 1,119 isoforms have even higher expression than the previously annotated major isoforms in human, indicating that the complexity of the human transcriptome is still significantly underestimated. Comparative transcriptome analysis further revealed 502 genes encoding selectively constrained, lineage-specific isoforms in human but not in rhesus macaque, linking them to some lineage-specific functions. Overall, we propose that the independent combination of alternative RNA processing events has contributed to complex isoform evolution in primates, which provides a new foundation for the study of phenotypic difference among primates.© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


September 22, 2019  |  

Assessment of an organ-specific de novo transcriptome of the nematode trap-crop, Solanum sisymbriifolium

Solanum sisymbriifolium, also known as “Litchi Tomato” or “Sticky Nightshade,” is an undomesticated and poorly researched plant related to potato and tomato. Unlike the latter species, S. sisymbriifolium induces eggs of the cyst nematode, Globodera pallida, to hatch and migrate into its roots, but then arrests further nematode maturation. In order to provide researchers with a partial blueprint of its genetic make-up so that the mechanism of this response might be identified, we used single molecule real time (SMRT) sequencing to compile a high quality de novo transcriptome of 41,189 unigenes drawn from individually sequenced bud, root, stem, and leaf RNA populations. Functional annotation and BUSCO analysis showed that this transcriptome was surprisingly complete, even though it represented genes expressed at a single time point. By sequencing the 4 organ libraries separately, we found we could get a reliable snapshot of transcript distributions in each organ. A divergent site analysis of the merged transcriptome indicated that this species might have undergone a recent genome duplication and re-diploidization. Further analysis indicated that the plant then retained a disproportionate number of genes associated with photosynthesis and amino acid metabolism in comparison to genes with characteristics of R-proteins or involved in secondary metabolism. The former processes may have given S. sisymbriifolium a bigger competitive advantage than the latter did. Copyright © 2018 Wixom et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

Single molecule RNA sequencing uncovers trans-splicing and improves annotations in Anopheles stephensi.

Single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing has recently been used to obtain full-length cDNA sequences that improve genome annotation and reveal RNA isoforms. Here, we used one such method called isoform sequencing from Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) to sequence a cDNA library from the Asian malaria mosquito Anopheles stephensi. More than 600 000 full-length cDNAs, referred to as reads of insert, were identified. Owing to the inherently high error rate of PacBio sequencing, we tested different approaches for error correction. We found that error correction using Illumina RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) generated more data than using the default SMRT pipeline. The full-length error-corrected PacBio reads greatly improved the gene annotation of Anopheles stephensi: 4867 gene models were updated and 1785 alternatively spliced isoforms were added to the annotation. In addition, six trans-splicing events, where exons from different primary transcripts were joined together, were identified in An. stephensi. All six trans-splicing events appear to be conserved in Culicidae, as they are also found in Anopheles gambiae and Aedes aegypti. The proteins encoded by trans-splicing events are also highly conserved and the orthologues of these proteins are cis-spliced in outgroup species, indicating that trans-splicing may arise as a mechanism to rescue genes that broke up during evolution.© 2017 The Royal Entomological Society.


September 22, 2019  |  

A human-specific switch of alternatively spliced AFMID isoforms contributes to TP53 mutations and tumor recurrence in hepatocellular carcinoma.

Pre-mRNA splicing can contribute to the switch of cell identity that occurs in carcinogenesis. Here, we analyze a large collection of RNA-seq data sets and report that splicing changes in hepatocyte-specific enzymes, such as AFMID and KHK, are associated with HCC patients’ survival and relapse. The switch of AFMID isoforms is an early event in HCC development and is associated with driver mutations in TP53 and ARID1A The switch of AFMID isoforms is human-specific and not detectable in other species, including primates. Finally, we show that overexpression of the full-length AFMID isoform leads to a higher NAD+ level, lower DNA-damage response, and slower cell growth in HepG2 cells. The integrative analysis uncovered a mechanistic link between splicing switches, de novo NAD+ biosynthesis, driver mutations, and HCC recurrence.© 2018 Lin et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

Splicing of nascent RNA coincides with intron exit from RNA Polymerase II.

Protein-coding genes in eukaryotes are transcribed by RNA polymerase II (Pol II) and introns are removed from pre-mRNA by the spliceosome. Understanding the time lag between Pol II progression and splicing could provide mechanistic insights into the regulation of gene expression. Here, we present two single-molecule nascent RNA sequencing methods that directly determine the progress of splicing catalysis as a function of Pol II position. Endogenous genes were analyzed on a global scale in budding yeast. We show that splicing is 50% complete when Pol II is only 45 nt downstream of introns, with the first spliced products observed as introns emerge from Pol II. Perturbations that slow the rate of spliceosome assembly or speed up the rate of transcription caused splicing delays, showing that regulation of both processes determines in vivo splicing profiles. We propose that matched rates streamline the gene expression pathway, while allowing regulation through kinetic competition. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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