Rat BodyMap transcriptomes reveal unique circular RNA features across tissue types and developmental stages

Tong Zhou, Xueying Xie, Musheng Li, Junchao Shi, Jin J. Zhou, Kenneth S. Knox, Ting Wang, Qi Chen, Wanjun Gu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a novel class of regulatory RNAs. Here, we present a comprehensive investigation of circRNA expression profiles across 11 tissues and four developmental stages in rats, along with cross-species analyses in humans and mice. Although the expression of circRNAs is positively correlated with that of cognate mRNAs, highly expressed genes tend to splice a larger fraction of circular transcripts. Moreover, circRNAs exhibit higher tissue specificity than cognate mRNAs. Intriguingly, while we observed a monotonic increase of circRNA abundance with age in the rat brain, we further discovered a dynamic, age-dependent pattern of circRNA expression in the testes that is characterized by a dramatic increase with advancing stages of sexual maturity and a decrease with aging. The age-sensitive testicular circRNAs are highly associated with spermatogenesis, independent of cognate mRNA expression. The tissue/age implications of circRNAs suggest that they present unique physiological functions rather than simply occurring as occasional by-products of gene transcription.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1443-1456
Number of pages14
JournalRNA
Volume24
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2018

Keywords

  • Age-dependent expression
  • CircRNA expression
  • Testis function
  • Tissue specificity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology

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