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BMC Genomics

, 8:252

First Online: 25 July 2007Received: 24 April 2007Accepted: 25 July 2007


BackgroundEpigenetic regulators histone acetyltransferases, methyltransferases, chromatin-remodelling enzymes, etc play a fundamental role in the control of gene expression by modifying the local state of chromatin. However, due to their recent discovery, little is yet known about their own regulation. This paper addresses this point, focusing on alternative splicing regulation, a mechanism already known to play an important role in other protein families, e.g. transcription factors, membrane receptors, etc.

ResultsTo this end, we compiled the data available on the presence-absence of alternative splicing for a set of 160 different epigenetic regulators, taking advantage of the relatively large amount of unexplored data on alternative splicing available in public databases. We found that 49 % 70 % in human of these genes express more than one transcript. We then studied their alternative splicing patterns, focusing on those changes affecting the enzyme-s domain composition. In general, we found that these sequence changes correspond to different mechanisms, either repressing the enzyme-s function e.g. by creating dominant-negative inhibitors of the functional isoform or creating isoforms with new functions.

ConclusionWe conclude that alternative splicing of epigenetic regulators can be an important tool for the function modulation of these enzymes. Considering that the latter control the transcriptional state of large sets of genes, we propose that epigenetic regulation of gene expression is itself strongly regulated by alternative splicing.

Abbreviationsaasamino acids.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2164-8-252 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Sergio Lois - Noemí Blanco - Marian Martínez-Balbás - Xavier de la Cruz


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