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The complex, dynamic SpliceOme of the small GTPase transcripts altered by technique, sex, genetics, tissue specificity, and RNA base editing. Front Cell Dev Biol 2022;10:1033695



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2-s2.0-85143361098 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   1 Citation


The small GTPase family is well-studied in cancer and cellular physiology. With 162 annotated human genes, the family has a broad expression throughout cells of the body. Members of the family have multiple exons that require splicing. Yet, the role of splicing within the family has been underexplored. We have studied the splicing dynamics of small GTPases throughout 41,671 samples by integrating Nanopore and Illumina sequencing techniques. Within this work, we have made several discoveries. 1). Using the GTEx long read data of 92 samples, each small GTPase gene averages two transcripts, with 83 genes (51%) expressing two or more isoforms. 2). Cross-tissue analysis of GTEx from 17,382 samples shows 41 genes (25%) expressing two or more protein-coding isoforms. These include protein-changing transcripts in genes such as RHOA, RAB37, RAB40C, RAB4B, RAB5C, RHOC, RAB1A, RAN, RHEB, RAC1, and KRAS. 3). The isolation and library technique of the RNAseq influences the abundance of non-sense-mediated decay and retained intron transcripts of small GTPases, which are observed more often in genes than appreciated. 4). Analysis of 16,243 samples of "Blood PAXgene" identified seven genes (3.7%; RHOA, RAB40C, RAB4B, RAB37, RAB5B, RAB5C, RHOC) with two or more transcripts expressed as the major isoform (75% of the total gene), suggesting a role of genetics in altering splicing. 5). Rare (ARL6, RAB23, ARL13B, HRAS, NRAS) and common variants (GEM, RHOC, MRAS, RAB5B, RERG, ARL16) can influence splicing and have an impact on phenotypes and diseases. 6). Multiple genes (RAB9A, RAP2C, ARL4A, RAB3A, RAB26, RAB3C, RASL10A, RAB40B, and HRAS) have sex differences in transcript expression. 7). Several exons are included or excluded for small GTPase genes (RASEF, KRAS, RAC1, RHEB, ARL4A, RHOA, RAB30, RHOBTB1, ARL16, RAP1A) in one or more forms of cancer. 8). Ten transcripts are altered in hypoxia (SAR1B, IFT27, ARL14, RAB11A, RAB10, RAB38, RAN, RIT1, RAB9A) with RHOA identified to have a transient 3'UTR RNA base editing at a conserved site found in all of its transcripts. Overall, we show a remarkable and dynamic role of splicing within the small GTPase family that requires future explorations.

Author List

Das AS, Sherry EC, Vaughan RM, Henderson ML, Zieba J, Uhl KL, Koehn O, Bupp CP, Rajasekaran S, Li X, Chhetri SB, Nissim S, Williams CL, Prokop JW


Carol L. Williams PhD Professor in the Pharmacology and Toxicology department at Medical College of Wisconsin