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Physiol Behav. 2018 May 1;188:173-180. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2018.01.026. Epub 2018 Jan 31.

Mapping diet-induced alternative polyadenylation of hypothalamic transcripts in the obese rat.

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Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, United States.
Department of Animal Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, United States.
Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, United States. Electronic address:


RNA biogenesis has emerged as a powerful biological event that regulates energy homeostasis. In this context insertion of alternative polyadenylation sites (APSs) dictate the fate of newly synthesized RNA molecules and direct alternative splicing of nascent transcripts. Thus APSs serve a mechanistic function by regulating transcriptome expression and function. In this study we employed a novel RNA-Seq Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) approach that utilized the power of Whole Transcriptome Termini Site Sequencing (WTTS-Seq) to simultaneously measure APS events on multiple RNA biotypes. We used this technique to measure APS events in the hypothalamus of adult male Long Evans rats exposed to a palatable high fat diet (HFD) or chow. Rats maintained on HFD displayed typical hyperphagic feeding and ensuing body weight gain over the one-month manipulation period. Our WTTS-Seq analysis mapped approximately 89,000 unique hypothalamic APSs induced by HFD relative to chow fed controls. HFD exposure produced APSs on multiple RNA biotypes in the hypothalamus. The majority of detected APSs occur on mRNA transcripts that encode functional proteins. Notably we find APSs on micro (miRNA) and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA), newly recognized transcription factors that regulate body weight in rodents. In addition we detect APSs on protein encoding mRNAs that control neuron projection development and synapse organization and glutamate signaling, key events hypothesized to maintain excess food intake. Importantly, quantitative real time PCR indicated that APS insertion led to increased hypothalamic expression of multiple RNA biotypes. Collectively these data highlight APS events as a novel genetic mechanism that directs hypothalamic RNA biogenesis stimulated by diet-induced obesity.


APSs; NGS; Obesity; RNA biogenesis

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