Associations between intronic non-B DNA structures and exon skipping


Non-B DNA structures are abundant in the genome and are often associated with critical biological processes, including gene regulation, chromosome rearrangement and genome stabilization. In particular, G-quadruplex (G4) may affect alternative splicing based on its ability to impede the activity of RNA polymerase II. However, the specific role of non-B DNA structures in splicing regulation still awaits investigation. Here, we provide a genome-wide and cross-species investigation of the associations between five non-B DNA structures and exon skipping. Our results indicate a statistically significant correlation of each examined non-B DNA structures with exon skipping in both human and mouse. We further show that the contributions of non-B DNA structures to exon skipping are influenced by the occurring region. These correlations and contributions are also significantly different in human and mouse. Finally, we detailed the effects of G4 by showing that occurring on the template strand and the length of G-run, which is highly related to the stability of a G4 structure, are significantly correlated with exon skipping activity. We thus show that, in addition to the well-known effects of RNA and protein structure, the relative positional arrangement of intronic non-B DNA structures may also impact exon skipping.

Nucleic Acids Research
Huai-Kuang Tsai
Huai-Kuang Tsai
Research Fellow/Professor