ncRNAs (non-coding RNAs), in particular long ncRNAs, represent a significant proportion of the vertebrate transcriptome and probably regulate many biological processes. We used publically available ESTs (Expressed Sequence Tags) from human, mouse and zebrafish and a previously published analysis pipeline to annotate and analyze the vertebrate non-protein-coding transcriptome. Comparative analysis confirmed some previously described features of intergenic ncRNAs, such as a positionally biased distribution with respect to regulatory or development related protein-coding genes, and weak but clear sequence conservation across species. Significantly, comparative analysis of developmental and regulatory genes proximate to long ncRNAs indicated that the only conserved relationship of these genes to neighbor long ncRNAs was with respect to genes expressed in human brain, suggesting a conserved, ncRNA cis-regulatory network in vertebrate nervous system development. Most of the relationships between long ncRNAs and proximate coding genes were not conserved, providing evidence for the rapid evolution of species-specific gene associated long ncRNAs. We have reconstructed and annotated over 130,000 long ncRNAs in these three species, providing a significantly expanded number of candidates for functional testing by the research community.
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Date Published: 20-December-2012
Author(s): Qu Z., Adelson D.