Allelic gene structure variations and alternative splicing are responsible for transcript structure variations. More than 75% of human genes have structural isoforms of transcripts, but to date few studies have been conducted to verify the alternative splicing systematically.
The present study used expressed sequence tags (ESTs) and EST tagged SNP patterns to examine the transcript structure variations resulting from allelic gene structure variations in the major human malaria vector, Anopheles gambiae. About 80% of 236,004 available A. gambiae ESTs were successfully aligned to A. gambiae reference genomes. More than 2,340 transcript structure variation events were detected. Because the current A. gambiae annotation is incomplete, we re-annotated the A. gambiae genome with an A. gambiae-specific gene model so that the effect of variations on gene coding could be better evaluated. A total of 15,962 genes were predicted. Among them, 3,873 were novel genes and 12,089 were previously identified genes. The gene completion rate improved from 60% to 84%. Based on EST support, 82.5% of gene structures were predicted correctly. In light of the new annotation, we found that ∼78% of transcript structure variations were located within the coding sequence (CDS) regions, and >65% of variations in the CDS regions have the same open-reading-frame. The association between transcript structure isoforms and SNPs indicated that more than 28% of transcript structure variation events were contributed by different gene alleles in A. gambiae.
We successfully expanded the A. gambiae genome annotation. We predicted and analyzed transcript structure variations in A. gambiae and found that allelic gene structure variation plays a major role in transcript diversity in this important human malaria vector.