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The landscape of the alternatively spliced transcriptome remains stable during aging across different species and tissues

By Patricia Sieber, Emanuel Barth, Manja Marz

Posted 05 Feb 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/541417

Aging is characterized by a decline of cellular homeostasis over time, leading to various severe disorders and death. Alternative splicing is an important regulatory level of gene expression and thus takes on a key role in the maintenance of accurate cell and tissue function. Missplicing of certain genes has already been linked to several age-associated diseases, such as progeria, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and cancer. Nevertheless, many studies focus only on transcriptional variations of single genes or the expression changes of spliceosomal genes, coding for the proteins that aggregate to the spliceosomal machinery. Little is known on the general change of present and switching isoforms in different tissues over time. In this descriptive RNA-Seq study, we report differences and commonalities of isoform usage during aging among different tissues within one species and compare changes of alternative splicing among different, evolutionarily distinct species. Although we identified a multitude of differntially spliced genes among different time points, we observed little to no general changes in the transcriptomic landscape of the investigated samples. Although there is undoubtedly considerable influence of specifically spliced genes on certain age-associated processes, this work shows that alternative splicing remains stable for the majority of genes with aging.

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