Inflammation drives alternative first exon usage to regulate immune genes including a novel iron-regulated isoform of Aim2
Determining the layers of gene regulation within the innate immune response is critical to our understanding of the cellular responses to infection and dysregulation in disease. We identified a conserved mechanism of gene regulation in human and mouse via changes in alternative first exon (AFE) usage following inflammation, resulting in changes to the isoforms produced. Of these AFE events, we identified 95 unannotated transcription start sites in mice using a de novo transcriptome generated by long-read native RNA-sequencing, one of which is in the cytosolic receptor for dsDNA and known inflammatory inducible gene, Aim2. We show that this unannotated AFE isoform of Aim2 is the predominant isoform expressed during inflammation and contains an iron-responsive element in its 5'UTR enabling mRNA translation to be regulated by iron levels. This work highlights the importance of examining alternative isoform changes and translational regulation in the innate immune response and uncovers novel regulatory mechanisms of Aim2.
A Murine Model of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Based on B Cell-Restricted Expression of Sf3b1 Mutation and Atm Deletion
SF3B1 is recurrently mutated in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), but its role in the pathogenesis of CLL remains elusive. Here, we show that conditional expression of Sf3b1-K700E mutation in mouse B cells disrupts pre-mRNA splicing, alters cell development, and induces a state of cellular senescence. Combination with Atm deletion leads to the overcoming of cellular senescence and the development of CLL-like disease in elderly mice. These CLL-like cells show genome instability and dysregulation of multiple CLL-associated cellular processes, including deregulated B cell receptor signaling, which we also identified in human CLL cases. Notably, human CLLs harboring SF3B1 mutations exhibit altered response to BTK inhibition. Our murine model of CLL thus provides insights into human CLL disease mechanisms and treatment.