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Open Access Research article

Intron retention and transcript chimerism conserved across mammals: Ly6g5b and Csnk2b-Ly6g5b as examples

Francisco Hernández-Torres12, Alberto Rastrojo1 and Begoña Aguado1*

Author Affiliations

1 Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa (CBMSO), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)-Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

2 Present address: Experimental Biology Department, Universidad de Jaén, Jaén, Spain

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BMC Genomics 2013, 14:199  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-199

Published: 22 March 2013

Abstract

Background

Alternative splicing (AS) is a major mechanism for modulating gene expression of an organism, allowing the synthesis of several structurally and functionally distinct mRNAs and protein isoforms from a unique gene. Related to AS is the Transcription Induced Chimerism (TIC) or Tandem Chimerism, by which chimeric RNAs between adjacent genes can be found, increasing combinatorial complexity of the proteome. The Ly6g5b gene presents particular behaviours in its expression, involving an intron retention event and being capable to form RNA chimera transcripts with the upstream gene Csnk2b. We wanted to characterise these events more deeply in four tissues in six different mammals and analyse their protein products.

Results

While canonical Csnk2b isoform was widely expressed, Ly6g5b canonical isoform was less ubiquitous, although the Ly6g5b first intron retained transcript was present in all the tissues and species analysed. Csnk2b-Ly6g5b chimeras were present in all the samples analysed, but with restricted expression patterns. Some of these chimeric transcripts maintained correct structural domains from Csnk2b and Ly6g5b. Moreover, we found Csnk2b, Ly6g5b, and Csnk2b-Ly6g5b transcripts that present exon skipping, alternative 5' and 3' splice site and intron retention events. These would generate truncated or aberrant proteins whose role remains unknown. Some chimeric transcripts would encode CSNK2B proteins with an altered C-terminus, which could affect its biological function broadening its substrate specificity. Over-expression of human CSNK2B, LY6G5B, and CSNK2B-LY6G5B proteins, show different patterns of post-translational modifications and cell distribution.

Conclusions

Ly6g5b intron retention and Csnk2b-Ly6g5b transcript chimerism are broadly distributed in tissues of different mammals.