Transcriptome analysis reveals differential splicing events in IPF lung tissue

PLoS One. 2014 May 7;9(5):e97550. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097550. eCollection 2014.

Abstract

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a complex disease in which a multitude of proteins and networks are disrupted. Interrogation of the transcriptome through RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) enables the determination of genes whose differential expression is most significant in IPF, as well as the detection of alternative splicing events which are not easily observed with traditional microarray experiments. We sequenced messenger RNA from 8 IPF lung samples and 7 healthy controls on an Illumina HiSeq 2000, and found evidence for substantial differential gene expression and differential splicing. 873 genes were differentially expressed in IPF (FDR<5%), and 440 unique genes had significant differential splicing events in at least one exonic region (FDR<5%). We used qPCR to validate the differential exon usage in the second and third most significant exonic regions, in the genes COL6A3 (RNA-Seq adjusted pval = 7.18e-10) and POSTN (RNA-Seq adjusted pval = 2.06e-09), which encode the extracellular matrix proteins collagen alpha-3(VI) and periostin. The increased gene-level expression of periostin has been associated with IPF and its clinical progression, but its differential splicing has not been studied in the context of this disease. Our results suggest that alternative splicing of these and other genes may be involved in the pathogenesis of IPF. We have developed an interactive web application which allows users to explore the results of our RNA-Seq experiment, as well as those of two previously published microarray experiments, and we hope that this will serve as a resource for future investigations of gene regulation in IPF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing / genetics*
  • Collagen Type VI / biosynthesis
  • Collagen Type VI / genetics*
  • Collagen Type VI / isolation & purification
  • Exons
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / genetics*
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology
  • RNA Splicing
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA

Substances

  • Collagen Type VI