In a step toward deciphering the “splicing code” of the human genome, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have comprehensively analyzed six of the more highly expressed RNA binding proteins collectively known as heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoparticle (hnRNP) proteins.
UC San Diego School of Medicine
RNAs wound in a knot and bound by hnRNP proteins illustrates the intractable problem of RNA regulation addressed by Huelga et al.
This study, published online Feb 16 in Cell Press’ new open-access journal Cell Reports, describes how multiple RNA binding proteins cooperatively control the diversity of proteins in human cells by regulating the alternative splicing of thousands of genes.
In the splicing process, fragments that do not typically code for protein, called introns, are removed from gene transcripts, and the remaining sequences, called exons, are reconnected. The proteins that bind to RNA are important for the control of the splicing process, and the location where they bind dictates which pieces of the RNA are included or excluded in the final gene transcript -- in much the same fashion that removing and inserting scenes, or splicing, can alter the plot of a movie.
“By integrating vast amounts of information about these key binding proteins, and making this data widely available, we hope to provide a foundation for building predictive models for splicing and future studies in other cell types such as embryonic stem cells,” said principal investigator Gene Yeo, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the Institute for Genomic Medicine at UC San Diego, and a visiting professor at the Molecular Engineering Laboratory in Singapore. “If we can understand how these proteins work together and affect one another to regulate alternative splicing, it may offer important clues for rational drug design.”
The data sets highlighted in this study – derived from genome-wide methods including custom-designed splicing-sensitive microarrays, RNA sequencing and high-throughput sequencing to identify genome-wide binding sites (CLIP-seq) -- map the functional binding sites for six of the major hnRNP proteins in human cells.
“We identified thousands of binding sites and altered splicing events for these hnRNP proteins and discovered that, surprisingly these proteins bind and regulate each other and a whole network of other RNA binding proteins, suggesting that these proteins are important for the homeostasis of the cell,” said first author, NSF fellow Stephanie C. Huelga.
According to the UCSD researchers, the genes specifically targeted by the RNA binding proteins in this study are also often implicated in cancer. Yeo added that of the thousands of genomic mutations that appear in cancer, a vast majority occur in the introns that are removed during splicing; however, intronic regions are where regulatory hnRNP proteins often bind.
“Our findings show an unprecedented degree of complexity and compensatory relationships among hnRNP proteins and their splicing targets that likely confer robustness to cells. The orchestration of RNA binding proteins is not only important for the homeostasis of the cell, but – by mapping the location of binding sites and all the regulatory places in a gene – this study could reveal how disruption of the process leads to disease and, perhaps, a way to intervene.”
Additional contributors to the study include Anthony Q. Vu, Justin D. Arnold, Tiffany Y. Liang, Patrick P. Liu and Bernice Y. Yan, UCSD Cellular and Molecular Medicine; John Paul Donohue, Lily Shiue and Manuel Ares, Jr., UC Santa Cruz; Shawn Hoon and Sydney Brenner, A*STAR, Singapore.
The study was funded in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the UC San Diego Stem Cell Research Program.
Debra Kain | Newswise Science News
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences