Natural antisense as potential regulator of alternative initiation, splicing and termination
Espen Enerly, Zeng Sheng and Kuo-Bin Li*
Bioinformatics Institute, 30 Biopolis Street, #07-01, Singapore 138671
In humans an estimated 35-60% of genes are alternatively spliced. A large number of genes also show alternative initiation or termination. Regulation of these processes is still poorly understood. For alternative splicing it is believed that the relative concentration of certain proteins and the presence of certain regulatory elements are the key factors determining alterations in splicing pattern. However, there is evidence that antisense RNA might be part of the regulatory processes. Antisense RNA molecules could bind to the target pre-mRNA in a sequence-specific fashion, sterically blocking targeted splice sites and redirecting the spliceosome to available and unhindered splice sites. Here we describe an in silico investigation to identify human sense/antisense pairs with alternative initiation or termination in the sense gene and where only one of the isoforms overlaps the antisense transcript. Alternatively spliced genes with antisense transcripts covering the alternatively used splice site are also identified. Our analyses are based on the ASAP splicing annotation database from UCLA, the antisense transcripts data from Yelin et al. [Nat. Biotechnol. 21, 379-386, 2003] and the H-invitational full-length cDNA database from JBIRC, Japan. These data gives new insight into the complexity of genomic organization and provide candidate loci for experimentalists to study antisense mediated regulation of alternative initiation, splicing and termination. Our result contains 468 clusters with this characteristic genomic organization and can be found at http://aistar.bii.a-star.edu.sg/.