Analysis of Genetic Interaction Networks Shows That Alternatively Spliced Genes Are Highly Versatile

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    Alternative splicing has the potential to increase the diversity of the transcriptome and proteome. Where more than one transcript arises from a gene they are often so different that they are quite unlikely to have the same function. However, it remains unclear if alternative splicing generally leads to a gene being involved in multiple biological processes or whether it alters the function within a single process. Knowing that genetic interactions occur between functionally related genes, we have used them as a proxy for functional versatility, and have analysed the sets of genes of two well-characterised model organisms: Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster. Using network analyses we find that few genes are functionally homogenous (only involved in a few functionally-related biological processes). Moreover, there are differences between alternatively spliced genes and genes with a single transcript; specifically, genes with alternatively splicing are, on average, involved in more biological processes. Finally, we suggest that factors other than specific functional classes determine whether a gene is alternatively spliced. © 2013 Talavera et al.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere55671
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2013


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