Published on Sat Aug 28 2021

Cap analysis of gene expression (CAGE) sequencing reveals alternative promoter usage in complex disease

Dahale, S., Ruiz-Orera, J., Silhavy, J., Hubner, N., van Heesch, S., Pravenec, M., Atanur, S. S.

The role of alternative promoter usage in tissue specific gene expression has been well established, but its role in complex diseases is poorly understood. We found that the insulin receptor gene (Insr) showed a switch in promoter usage between SHR and BN in heart and liver. The Insr promoter shift was significantly

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Abstract

The role of alternative promoter usage in tissue specific gene expression has been well established, however, its role in complex diseases is poorly understood. We performed cap analysis of gene expression (CAGE) tag sequencing from the left ventricle (LV) of a rat model of hypertension, the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR), and a normotensive strain, the Brown Norway (BN) to understand role of alternative promoter usage in complex disease. We identified 26,560 CAGE-defined transcription start sites (TSS) in the rat LV, including 1,970 novel cardiac TSS resulting in new transcripts. We identified 27 genes with alternative promoter usage between SHR and BN which could lead to protein isoforms differing at the amino terminus between two strains. Additionally, we identified 475 promoter switching events where a shift in TSS usage was within 100bp between SHR and BN, altering length of the 5 prime UTR. Genomic variants located in the shifting promoter regions showed significant allelic imbalance in F1 crosses, confirming promoter shift. We found that the insulin receptor gene (Insr) showed a switch in promoter usage between SHR and BN in heart and liver. The Insr promoter shift was significantly associated with insulin levels and blood pressure within a panel of BXH/HXB recombinant inbred (RI) rat strains. This suggests that the hyperinsulinemia due to insulin resistance might lead to hypertension in SHR. Our study provides a preliminary evidence of alternative promoter usage in complex diseases.