Natural antisense transcripts and long non-coding RNA in Neurospora crassa

Yamini Arthanari, Christian Heintzen, Sam Griffiths-Jones, Susan K. Crosthwaite

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    The prevalence of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA) and natural antisense transcripts (NATs) has been reported in a variety of organisms. While a consensus has yet to be reached on their global importance, an increasing number of examples have been shown to be functional, regulating gene expression at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional level. Here, we use RNA sequencing data from the ABI SOLiD platform to identify lncRNA and NATs obtained from samples of the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa grown under different light and temperature conditions. We identify 939 novel lncRNAs, of which 477 are antisense to annotated genes. Across the whole dataset, the extent of overlap between sense and antisense transcripts is large: 371 sense/antisense transcripts are complementary over 500 nts or more and 236 overlap by more than 1000 nts. Most prevalent are 3′ end overlaps between convergently transcribed sense/antisense pairs, but examples of divergently transcribed pairs and nested transcripts are also present. We confirm the expression of a subset of sense/antisense transcript pairs by qPCR. We examine the size, types of overlap and expression levels under the different environmental stimuli of light and temperature, and identify 11 lncRNAs that are up-regulated in response to light. We also find differences in transcript length and the position of introns between protein-coding transcripts that have antisense expression and transcripts with no antisense expression. These results demonstrate the ability of N. crassa lncRNAs and NATs to be regulated by different environmental stimuli and provide the scope for further investigation into the function of NATs. © 2014 Arthanari et al.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere91353
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2014


    • Fungal, Neurospora, noncoding, antisense, RNA


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