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Publication Detail
Skip and bin: pervasive alternative splicing triggers degradation by nuclear RNA surveillance in fission yeast
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Bitton D, Atkinson S, Rallis C, Smith G, Ellis D, Jeffares D, Chen Y, Malecki M, Codlin S, Lubas M, Lemay J-F, Bachand F, Cotobal C, Marguerat S, Mata J, Heick Jensen T, Bahler J
  • Publication date:
  • Status:
Exon-skipping is considered a principal mechanism by which eukaryotic cells expand their transcriptome and proteome repertoires, creating different slice varaiants with distinct cellular functions. Here we analyze RNA-seq data from 116 transcriptomes in fission yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe), covering multiple physiological conditions as well as transcriptional and RNA processing mutants. We applied brute-force algorithms to detect all possible exon-skipping events, which were ubiquitous but rare compared to canonical splicing events. Exon-skipping events increased in cells deficient for the nuclear exosome or the 5?-3? exonuclease Dhp1, and also at late stages of meiotic differentiation when nuclear-exosome transcripts were down-regulated. The pervasive exon-skipping transcripts were stochastic, did not increase in specific physiological conditions, and were mostly present at below 1 copy per cell, even in the absence of nuclear RNA surveillance and late during meiosis. These exon-skipping transcripts are therefore unlikely to be functional and may reflect splicing errors that are actively removed by nuclear RNA surveillance. The average splicing error-rate was ~0.24% in wild-type and ~1.75% in nuclear exonuclease mutants. Using an exhaustive search algorithm, we also uncovered thousands of previously unknown splice sites, indicating pervasive splicing, yet most of these novel splicing events were rare and targeted for nuclear degradation. Analysis of human transcriptomes revealed similar, albeit much weaker trends for pervasive exon-skipping transcripts, some of which being degraded by the nuclear exosome. This study highlights widespread, but low frequency alternative splicing which is targeted by nuclear RNA surveillance.
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