Alternative splicing plays an important role in numerous cellular processes and aberrant splice decisions are associated with cancer. Although some studies point to a regulation of alternative splicing and its effector mechanisms in a time-dependent manner, the extent and consequences of such a regulation remains poorly understood. In the present work, we investigated the time-dependent production of isoforms in two Hodgkin lymphoma cell lines of different progression stages (HD-MY-Z, stage IIIb and L-1236, stage IV) compared to a B lymphoblastoid cell line (LCL-HO) with a focus on tumour necrosis factor (TNF) pathway-related elements. For this, we used newly generated time-course RNA-sequencing data from the mentioned cell lines and applied a computational pipeline to identify genes with isoform-switching behaviour in time. We analysed the temporal profiles of the identified events and evaluated in detail the potential functional implications of alterations in isoform expression for the selected top-switching genes. Our data indicate that elements within the TNF pathway undergo a time-dependent variation in isoform production with a putative impact on cell migration, proliferation and apoptosis. These include the genes TRAF1, TNFRSF12A and NFKB2. Our results point to a role of temporal alternative splicing in isoform production, which may alter the outcome of the TNF pathway and impact on tumorigenesis.
Keywords: RNA-sequencing; TNF-pathway; alternative splicing; analysis of oscillating genes; cancer; circadian clock; high-throughput data analysis; pathway enrichment; systems biology.