Discovery of driver non-coding splice-site-creating mutations in cancer

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Non-coding mutations can create splice sites, however the true extent of how such somatic non-coding mutations affect RNA splicing are largely unexplored. Here we use the MiSplice pipeline to analyze 783 cancer cases with WGS data and 9494 cases with WES data, discovering 562 non-coding mutations that lead to splicing alterations. Notably, most of these mutations create new exons. Introns associated with new exon creation are significantly larger than the genome-wide average intron size. We find that some mutation-induced splicing alterations are located in genes important in tumorigenesis (ATRX, BCOR, CDKN2B, MAP3K1, MAP3K4, MDM2, SMAD4, STK11, TP53 etc.), often leading to truncated proteins and affecting gene expression. The pattern emerging from these exon-creating mutations suggests that splice sites created by non-coding mutations interact with pre-existing potential splice sites that originally lacked a suitable splicing pair to induce new exon formation. Our study suggests the importance of investigating biological and clinical consequences of noncoding splice-inducing mutations that were previously neglected by conventional annotation pipelines. MiSplice will be useful for automatically annotating the splicing impact of coding and non-coding mutations in future large-scale analyses.




Cao, S., Zhou, D. C., Oh, C., Jayasinghe, R. G., Zhao, Y., Yoon, C. J., … Ding, L. (2020). Discovery of driver non-coding splice-site-creating mutations in cancer. Nature Communications, 11(1).

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