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PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e31751. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031751. Epub 2012 Feb 22.

Transcriptome-wide survey of mouse CNS-derived cells reveals monoallelic expression within novel gene families.

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Division of Biostatistics, Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, California, United States of America.


Monoallelic expression is an integral component of regulation of a number of essential genes and gene families. To probe for allele-specific expression in cells of CNS origin, we used next-generation sequencing (RNA-seq) to analyze four clonal neural stem cell (NSC) lines derived from Mus musculus C57BL/6 (B6)×Mus musculus molossinus (JF1) adult female mice. We established a JF1 cSNP library, then ascertained transcriptome-wide expression from B6 vs. JF1 alleles in the NSC lines. Validating the assay, we found that 262 of 268 X-linked genes evaluable in at least one cell line showed monoallelic expression (at least 85% expression of the predominant allele, p-value<0.05). For autosomal genes 170 of 7,198 genes (2.4% of the total) showed monoallelic expression in at least 2 evaluable cell lines. The group included eight known imprinted genes with the expected pattern of allele-specific expression. Among the other autosomal genes with monoallelic expression were five members of the glutathione transferase gene superfamily, which processes xenobiotic compounds as well as carcinogens and cancer therapeutic agents. Monoallelic expression within this superfamily thus may play a functional role in the response to diverse and potentially lethal exogenous factors, as is the case for the immunoglobulin and olfactory receptor superfamilies. Other genes and gene families showing monoallelic expression include the annexin gene family and the Thy1 gene, both linked to inflammation and cancer, as well as genes linked to alcohol dependence (Gabrg1) and epilepsy (Kcnma1). The annotated set of genes will provide a resource for investigation of mechanisms underlying certain cases of these and other major disorders.

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