Poster Presentation Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution Conference 2016

Origins and conservation of mammalian BRAF pseudogenes. (#404)

Cian Glenfield 1 , Aoife McLysaght 1
  1. Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin

Competitive endogenous RNAs (ceRNAs) represent a novel class of post-transcriptional gene regulators. CeRNAs function by competing for microRNAs which have binding sites shared with other RNA transcripts. Expressed pseudogenes and other long non-coding RNAs can thus alter the levels of mRNA from protein-coding genes, resulting in reduced protein expression. Proper regulation of ceRNA expression appears to be critical in certain cases, as several studies have shown that altering ceRNA levels can have an impact on cancer development and progression. However, few studies to date have considered the evolutionary impact and origins of ceRNAs, presumably in part due to difficulties with pseudogene and other long non-coding RNA discovery and annotation. Here we report our findings on the evolutionary analysis of the pseudogene BRAFP1 as a conserved ceRNA. We found that the pseudogene is present in syntenic locations in each species of the Catarrhini lineage, which is comprised of the Old-world monkeys and Apes. Multiple sequence alignment reveals that the 3’UTRs of the pseudogenes have a lower substitution rate than their pseudo-protein-coding regions, as well as a similar substitution rate to their respective parent gene 3’UTRs. In addition, we found several miRNA binding sites that are conserved between each parent gene and pseudogene. Our preliminary results indicate that pseudogenes and likely other long non-coding RNAs can represent a novel method of conserved post-transcriptional gene regulation. We anticipate this analysis will help facilitate further discovery of conserved ceRNAs and their consequences.