Publications - Working papers

Please find below working papers of our group. Currently, we list 48 working papers. In the list are only not published papers present. If you look for a preprint of an already published paper you must look in the "Published papers" section. If you have problems accessing electronic information, please let us know:

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Splicing conservation signals in plant long non-coding RNAs

Josú Antonio Corona Gómez, Irving Jair Garcia-Lopez, Peter F. Stadler, Selene L. Fernandez-Valverde


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Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), With a length of at least 200 nt and little to no protein-coding potential, have recently emerged as prominent regulators of gene expression in eukaryotes. LncRNAs often drive the modification and maintenance of gene activation or gene silencing states via chromatin conformation rearrangements. In plants, lncRNAs have been shown to participate in gene regulation, and are essential to processes such as vernalization and photomorphogenesis. Despite their prominent functions, however, only over a dozen lncRNAs have been experimentally and functionally characterized. Little is known about the evolutionary patterns of lncRNAs plants. The rates of divergence are much higher in lncRNAs than in protein coding mRNAs, making it difficult to identify lncRNA conservation using traditional sequence comparison methods. One of the few studies that has tried to address this found only 4 lncRNAs with positional conservation and 15 conserved at the sequence level in Brassicaceaee. Here, we characterised the splicing conservation of lncRNAs in Brassicaceaee. We generated a whole-genome alignment of 16 Brassica species and used it to identify synthenic lncRNA orthologues. Using a scoring system trained on transcriptomes from \textit{A.\ thaliana} and \textit{B.\ oleracea}, we identified splice sites across the whole alignment and measured their conservation. Our analysis revealed that 17.9\% (112/627) of all intergenic lncRNAs display splicing conservation in at least one exon, an estimate that is substantially higher to previous estimates of lncRNA conservation in this group. Our findings agree with similar studies in vertebrates, suggesting that splicing conservation can be evidence of stabilizing selection and thus used to identify functional lncRNAs in plants.


long non-coding RNAs, lncRNA, splice sites, multiple sequence