Genome-wide cataloging and analysis of alternatively spliced genes in cereal crops

Publication Type:
Journal Article
BMC Genomics, 2015, 16 (1)
Issue Date:
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© 2015 Min et al. Background: Protein functional diversity at the post-transcriptional level is regulated through spliceosome mediated pre-mRNA alternative splicing (AS) events and that has been widely demonstrated to be a key player in regulating the functional diversity in plants. Identification and analysis of AS genes in cereal crop plants are critical for crop improvement and understanding regulatory mechanisms. Results: We carried out the comparative analyses of the functional landscapes of the AS using the consensus assembly of expressed sequence tags and available mRNA sequences in four cereal plants. We identified a total of 8,734 in Oryza sativa subspecies (ssp) japonica, 2,657 in O. sativa ssp indica, 3,971 in Sorghum bicolor, and 10,687 in Zea mays AS genes. Among the identified AS events, intron retention remains to be the dominant type accounting for 23.5 % in S. bicolor, and up to 55.8 % in O. sativa ssp indica. We identified a total of 887 AS genes that were conserved among Z. mays, S. bicolor, and O. sativa ssp japonica; and 248 AS genes were found to be conserved among all four studied species or ssp. Furthermore, we identified 53 AS genes conserved with Brachypodium distachyon. Gene Ontology classification of AS genes revealed functional assignment of these genes in many biological processes with diverse molecular functions. Conclusions: AS is common in cereal plants. The AS genes identified in four cereal crops in this work provide the foundation for further studying the roles of AS in regulation of cereal plant growth and development. The data can be accessed at Plant Alternative Splicing Database
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