NOVA2-mediated RNA regulation is required for axonal pathfinding during development

Elife. 2016 May 25;5:e14371. doi: 10.7554/eLife.14371.


The neuron specific RNA-binding proteins NOVA1 and NOVA2 are highly homologous alternative splicing regulators. NOVA proteins regulate at least 700 alternative splicing events in vivo, yet relatively little is known about the biologic consequences of NOVA action and in particular about functional differences between NOVA1 and NOVA2. Transcriptome-wide searches for isoform-specific functions, using NOVA1 and NOVA2 specific HITS-CLIP and RNA-seq data from mouse cortex lacking either NOVA isoform, reveals that NOVA2 uniquely regulates alternative splicing events of a series of axon guidance related genes during cortical development. Corresponding axonal pathfinding defects were specific to NOVA2 deficiency: Nova2-/- but not Nova1-/- mice had agenesis of the corpus callosum, and axonal outgrowth defects specific to ventral motoneuron axons and efferent innervation of the cochlea. Thus we have discovered that NOVA2 uniquely regulates alternative splicing of a coordinate set of transcripts encoding key components in cortical, brainstem and spinal axon guidance/outgrowth pathways during neural differentiation, with severe functional consequences in vivo.

Keywords: HITS-CLIP; NOVA; RNA-seq; agenesis corpus callosum; axon guidance; cochlear neuron; motoneuron; mouse; neuroscience; splicing.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / metabolism*
  • Axon Guidance*
  • Cerebral Cortex / embryology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • RNA / metabolism*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Nova2 protein, mouse
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • RNA