The Journal of cell biology

Stable intronic sequence RNAs have possible regulatory roles in Drosophila melanogaster.

PMID 26504165


Stable intronic sequence RNAs (sisRNAs) have been found in Xenopus tropicalis, human cell lines, and Epstein-Barr virus; however, the biological significance of sisRNAs remains poorly understood. We identify sisRNAs in Drosophila melanogaster by deep sequencing, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, and Northern blotting. We characterize a sisRNA (sisR-1) from the regena (rga) locus and show that it can be processed from the precursor messenger RNA (pre-mRNA). We also document a cis-natural antisense transcript (ASTR) from the rga locus, which is highly expressed in early embryos. During embryogenesis, ASTR promotes robust rga pre-mRNA expression. Interestingly, sisR-1 represses ASTR, with consequential effects on rga pre-mRNA expression. Our results suggest a model in which sisR-1 modulates its host gene expression by repressing ASTR during embryogenesis. We propose that sisR-1 belongs to a class of sisRNAs with probable regulatory activities in Drosophila.