Schizophrenia (SZ) is a complex disease characterized by impaired neuronal functioning. Although defective alternative splicing has been linked to SZ, the molecular mechanisms responsible are unknown. Additionally, there is limited understanding of the early transcriptomic responses to neuronal activation.
Here, researchers from the University of Queensland, Australia profile these transcriptomic responses and show that long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are dynamically regulated by neuronal activation, including acute downregulation of the lncRNA Gomafu, previously implicated in brain and retinal development. Moreover, they demonstrate that Gomafu binds directly to the splicing factors QKI and SRSF1 (serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 1) and dysregulation of Gomafu leads to alternative splicing patterns that resemble those observed in SZ for the archetypal SZ-associated genes DISC1 and ERBB4. Finally, they show that Gomafu is downregulated in post-mortem cortical gray matter from the superior temporal gyrus in SZ. These results functionally link activity-regulated lncRNAs and alternative splicing in neuronal function and suggest that their dysregulation may contribute to neurological disorders.
- Barry G, Briggs JA, Vanichkina DP, Poth EM, Beveridge NJ, Ratnu VS, Nayler SP, Nones K, Hu J, Bredy TW, Nakagawa S, Rigo F, Taft RJ, Cairns MJ, Blackshaw S, Wolvetang EJ, Mattick JS. (2013) The long non-coding RNA Gomafu is acutely regulated in response to neuronal activation and involved in schizophrenia-associated alternative splicing. Mol Psychiatry [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]