Research Papers:

Radiation-induced alternative transcripts as detected in total and polysome-bound mRNA

Amy Wahba, Michael C. Ryan, Uma T. Shankavaram, Kevin Camphausen and Philip J. Tofilon _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:691-705. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.21672

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Amy Wahba1, Michael C. Ryan2, Uma T. Shankavaram1, Kevin Camphausen1 and Philip J. Tofilon1

1Radiation Oncology Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

2In Silico Solutions, Falls Church, VA 22043, USA

Correspondence to:

Philip J. Tofilon, email: [email protected]

Keywords: radiation; polysomes; alternative splicing; gene expression

Received: August 09, 2017    Accepted: September 16, 2017    Published: October 09, 2017


Alternative splicing is a critical event in the posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression. To investigate whether this process influences radiation-induced gene expression we defined the effects of ionizing radiation on the generation of alternative transcripts in total cellular mRNA (the transcriptome) and polysome-bound mRNA (the translatome) of the human glioblastoma stem-like cell line NSC11. For these studies, RNA-Seq profiles from control and irradiated cells were compared using the program SpliceSeq to identify transcripts and splice variations induced by radiation. As compared to the transcriptome (total RNA) of untreated cells, the radiation-induced transcriptome contained 92 splice events suggesting that radiation induced alternative splicing. As compared to the translatome (polysome-bound RNA) of untreated cells, the radiation-induced translatome contained 280 splice events of which only 24 were overlapping with the radiation-induced transcriptome. These results suggest that radiation not only modifies alternative splicing of precursor mRNA, but also results in the selective association of existing mRNA isoforms with polysomes. Comparison of radiation-induced alternative transcripts to radiation-induced gene expression in total RNA revealed little overlap (about 3%). In contrast, in the radiation-induced translatome, about 38% of the induced alternative transcripts corresponded to genes whose expression level was affected in the translatome. This study suggests that whereas radiation induces alternate splicing, the alternative transcripts present at the time of irradiation may play a role in the radiation-induced translational control of gene expression and thus cellular radioresponse.

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