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Background: Stable introns and intronic fragments make up the largest population of RNA in the oocyte nucleus of the frog Xenopus tropicalis. These stable intronic sequence RNAs (sisRNAs) persist through the onset of zygotic transcription when synchronous cell division has ended, and the developing embryo consists of approximately 8000 cells. Despite their abundance, the sequence properties and biological function of sisRNAs are just beginning to be understood. Results: To characterize this population of non-coding RNA, we identified all of the sisRNAs in the X. tropicalis oocyte nucleus using published high-throughput RNA sequencing data. Our analysis revealed that sisRNAs, have an average length of ~ 360 nt, are widely expressed from genes with multiple introns, and are derived from specific regions of introns that are GC and TG rich, while CpG poor. They are enriched in introns at both ends of transcripts but preferentially at the 3′ end. The consensus binding sites of specific transcription factors such as Stat3 are enriched in sisRNAs, suggesting an association between sisRNAs and transcription factors involved in early development. Evolutionary conservation analysis of sisRNA sequences in seven vertebrate genomes indicates that sisRNAs are as conserved as other parts of introns, but much less conserved than exons. Conclusion: In total, our results indicate sisRNAs are selected intron regions with distinct properties and may play a role in gene expression regulation.
Jin, J., He, X., & Silva, E. (2020). Stable intronic sequence RNAs (sisRNAs) are selected regions in introns with distinct properties. BMC Genomics, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-020-6687-9