Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences
Circularization was recently recognized to broadly expand transcriptome complexity. Here, we exploit massive Drosophila total RNA-sequencing data, >5 billion paired-end reads from >100 libraries covering diverse developmental stages, tissues, and cultured cells, to rigorously annotate >2,500 fruit fly circular RNAs. These mostly derive from back-splicing of protein-coding genes and lack poly(A) tails, and the circularization of hundreds of genes is conserved across multiple Drosophila species. We elucidate structural and sequence properties of Drosophila circular RNAs, which exhibit commonalities and distinctions from mammalian circles. Notably, Drosophila circular RNAs harbor >1,000 well-conserved canonical miRNA seed matches, especially within coding regions, and coding conserved miRNA sites reside preferentially within circularized exons. Finally, we analyze the developmental and tissue specificity of circular RNAs and note their preferred derivation from neural genes and enhanced accumulation in neural tissues. Interestingly, circular isoforms increase substantially relative to linear isoforms during CNS aging and constitute an aging biomarker.
Olson, Sarah and Graveley, Brenton R., "Genome-wide Analysis of Drosophila Circular RNAs Reveals Their Structural and Sequence Properties and Age-Dependent Neural Accumulation" (2014). UCHC Articles - Research. 255.