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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Circular RNAs from transcripts of the rat cytochrome P450 2C24 gene: correlation with exon skipping.

The cytochrome P450 2C24 gene is characterized by the capability to generate, in rat kidney, a transcript containing exons 2 and 4 spliced at correct sites but having the donor site of exon 4 directly joined to the acceptor site of exon 2 (exon scrambling). By reverse transcriptase-PCR analysis, it is now shown that the only exons present in the scrambled transcript are exons 2, 3, and 4 and that this molecule lacks a poly(A)+ tail. Furthermore, the use of PCR primers in both orientations of either exon 2 or exon 4 revealed that the orders of the exons in the scrambled transcript are 2-3-4-2 and 4-2-3-4, respectively. These results, combined with the observation that P450 2C24 is a single-copy gene, with no duplication of the exon 2 to exon 4 segment, suggest that the scrambled transcript has properties consistent with that of a circular molecule. In line with this is the observation of an increased resistance of the transcript to phosphodiesterase I, a 3'-exonuclease. Moreover, an alternatively processed cytochrome P450 2C24 mRNA, lacking the three scrambled exons and having exon 1 directly joined to exon 5, has been identified in kidney and liver, tissues that express the scrambled transcript. This complete identity of the exons that are absent in the alternatively processed mRNA but present in the scrambled transcript is interpreted as indicative of the possibility that exon scrambling and exon skipping might be interrelated phenomena. It is therefore proposed that alternative pre-mRNA processing has the potential to generate not only mRNAs lacking one or more exons but also circular RNA molecules.[1]


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