Table_7_The Genetic Regulation of Alternative Splicing in Populus deltoides.XLSX
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Alternative splicing (AS) is a mechanism of regulation of the proteome via enabling the production of multiple mRNAs from a single gene. To date, the dynamics of AS and its effects on the protein sequences of individuals in a large and genetically unrelated population of trees have not been investigated. Here we describe the diversity of AS events within a previously genotyped population of 268 individuals of Populus deltoides and their putative downstream functional effects. Using a robust bioinformatics pipeline, the AS events and resulting transcript isoforms were discovered and quantified for each individual in the population. Analysis of the AS revealed that, as expected, most AS isoforms are conserved. However, we also identified a substantial collection of new, unannotated splice junctions and transcript isoforms. Heritability estimates for the expression of transcript isoforms showed that approximately half of the isoforms are heritable. The genetic regulators of these AS isoforms and splice junction usage were then identified using a genome-wide association analysis. The expression of AS isoforms was predominately cis regulated while splice junction usage was generally regulated in trans. Additionally, we identified 696 genes encoding alternatively spliced isoforms that changed putative protein domains relative to the longest protein coding isoform of the gene, and 859 genes exhibiting this same phenomenon relative to the most highly expressed isoform. Finally, we found that 748 genes gained or lost micro-RNA binding sites relative to the longest protein coding isoform of a given gene, while 940 gained or lost micro-RNA binding sites relative to the most highly expressed isoform. These results indicate that a significant fraction of AS events are genetically regulated and that this isoform usage can result in protein domain architecture changes.
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