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Analysis of alternative splicing in chicken embryo fibroblasts in response to reticuloendotheliosis virus infection

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Alternative splicing (AS) plays a significant role in regulation of genomic expression at the transcriptional level and is involved in many important biological functions of cells, thus a gene can be spliced into distinct transcript variants then translated to many different kinds of protein. Reticuloendotheliosis virus (REV) is a kind of retrovirus that can infect multiple avian species, leading to runting syndrome, immunosuppression and oncogenesis. In this present study, we analyzed AS in REV-infected chicken embryo fibroblasts (CEFs) which were inoculated with the second generation of REV (group VB) and compared with normal CEFs (group C) by high-throughput RNA sequencing technology. A total of 6,939 genes which were alternatively spliced were detected, among them, skipped exon (SE) was the most common pattern. Moreover, 5,607 AS genes were detected as differentially expressed; compared with group C, group VB has 2,825 genes upregulated significantly and 2,782 genes downregulated significantly. These 5,607 differentially expressed AS genes are involved in many important biological processes. Many of them are involved in apoptosis and tumourigenesis. We also proved, by agarose gel electrophoresis, that AS events predicted by our study are authentic and AS is closely related with apoptosis and tumourigenesis in REV-infected CEFs. Our study provides the best analysis to date of the potential link between AS and CEFs in response to REV infection.

Research highlights

Transcriptomics analysis of REV-infected CEFs using high-throughput sequencing.


Potential link between alternative splicing and CEFs in response to REV infection.


Skipped exon is the most common spliced pattern in REV-infected CEFs.


Differentially expressed genes mainly involved in apoptosis and tumourigenesis.
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Keywords: Alternative splicing; apoptosis; gene differential expression; high-throughput sequencing; reticuloendotheliosis virus; tumourigenesis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Laboratory Pathological Physiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin, People’s Republic of China

Publication date: November 2, 2018

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