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Open Access Research

Alternative splicing of mouse transcription factors affects their DNA-binding domain architecture and is tissue specific

Bahar Taneri1, Ben Snyder1, Alexey Novoradovsky1 and Terry Gaasterland12*

Author Affiliations

1 The Laboratory of Computational Genomics, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021, USA

2 Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA

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Genome Biology 2004, 5:R75  doi:10.1186/gb-2004-5-10-r75

Published: 30 September 2004

Abstract

Background

Analyzing proteins in the context of all available genome and transcript sequence data has the potential to reveal functional properties not accessible through protein sequence analysis alone. To analyze the impact of alternative splicing on transcription factor (TF) protein structure, we constructed a comprehensive database of splice variants in the mouse transcriptome, called MouSDB3 containing 461 TF loci.

Results

Our analysis revealed that 62% of these loci in MouSDB3 have variant exons, compared to 29% of all loci. These variant TF loci contain a total of 324 alternative exons, of which 23% are in-frame. When excluded, 80% of in-frame alternative exons alter the domain architecture of the protein as computed by SMART (simple modular architecture research tool). Sixty-eight % of these exons directly affect the coding regions of domains important for TF function. Seventy-five % of the domains affected are DNA-binding domains. Tissue distribution analyses of variant mouse TFs reveal that they have more alternatively spliced forms in 14 of the 18 tissues analyzed when compared to all the loci in MouSDB3. Further, TF isoforms are homogenous within a given single tissue and are heterogeneous across different tissues, indicating their tissue specificity.

Conclusions

Our study provides quantitative evidence that alternative splicing preferentially adds or deletes domains important to the DNA-binding function of the TFs. Analyses described here reveal the presence of tissue-specific alternative splicing throughout the mouse transcriptome. Our findings provide significant biological insights into control of transcription and regulation of tissue-specific gene expression by alternative splicing via creation of tissue-specific TF isoforms.