Full-length transcript characterization of SF3B1 mutation in chronic lymphocytic leukemia reveals downregulation of retained introns
6th September 2018 - BioRxiv
SF3B1 is one of the most frequently mutated genes in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and is associated with poor patient prognosis. While alternative splicing patterns caused by mutations in SF3B1 have been identified with short-read RNA sequencing, a critical barrier in understanding the functional consequences of these splicing changes is that we lack the full transcript context in which these changes are occurring. Using nanopore sequencing technology, we have resequenced full-length cDNA from CLL samples with and without the hotspot SF3B1 K700E mutation, and a normal B cell. We have developed a workflow called FLAIR (Full-Length Alternative Isoform analysis of RNA), leveraging the full-length transcript sequencing data that nanopore affords. We report results from nanopore sequencing that are concordant with known SF3B1 biology from short read sequencing as well as altered intron retention events more confidently observed using long reads. Splicing analysis of nanopore reads between the SF3B1WT and SF3B1K700E samples identifies alternative upstream 3' splice sites associated with SF3B1K700E. We also find downregulation of intron retention events in SF3B1K700E relative to SF3B1WT and no difference between CLL SF3B1MUT and B cell, suggesting an aberrant intron retention landscape in CLL samples lacking SF3B1 mutation. With full-length isoforms, we are able to better estimate the abundance of RNA transcripts that are productive and will likely be translated versus those that are unproductive. Validation from short-read data also reveals a strong branch point sequence in these downregulated intron retention events, consistent with previously reported branch points associated with mutated SF3B1. As nanopore sequencing has yet to become a routine tool for characterization of the transcriptome, our work demonstrates the potential utility of nanopore sequencing for cancer and splicing research.