Precise temporal regulation of alternative splicing during neural development
Alternative splicing (AS) is one crucial step of gene expression that must be tightly regulated during neurodevelopment. However, the precise timing of developmental splicing switches and the underlying regulatory mechanisms are poorly understood. Here we systematically analyze the temporal regulation of AS in a large number of transcriptome profiles of developing mouse cortices, in vivo purified neuronal subtypes, and neurons differentiated in vitro. Our analysis reveals early-switch and late-switch exons in genes with distinct functions, and these switches accurately define neuronal maturation stages. Integrative modeling suggests that these switches are under direct and combinatorial regulation by distinct sets of neuronal RNA-binding proteins including Nova, Rbfox, Mbnl, and Ptbp. Surprisingly, various neuronal subtypes in the sensory systems lack Nova and/or Rbfox expression. These neurons retain the “immature” splicing program in early-switch exons, affecting numerous synaptic genes. These results provide new insights into the organization and regulation of the neurodevelopmental transcriptome.
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- Nature Communications