Recent large-scale transcriptomic analyses have identified numerous endogenously encoded cis-antisense RNAs that are thought to play important roles in diverse cellular processes although comprehensive comparative studies among multiple species have yet to be performed. To investigate conserved genomic features across various species that may be related to sense-antisense regulation, we performed comparative analysis of approximately 1000-2000 cis-encoded antisense RNA pairs from five model eukaryotes (Homo sapiens, Mus musculus, Drosophila melanogaster, Arabidopsis thaliana, and Oryza sativa). Analysis of overlapping patterns relative to the exon-intron structure revealed that the number of pairs sharing the 3′ part of the transcripts was larger than that of the 5′-sharing pairs except in rice. Moreover, most of the well-conserved sense-antisense pairs between human and mouse exhibited 3′-overlaps, suggesting that regulatory mechanisms involving these regions may be important in sense-antisense transcription. Functional classification using Gene Ontology revealed that genes related to catalytic activity, nucleotide binding, DNA metabolism, and mitochondria were preferentially distributed within the set of exon-overlapping sense-antisense genes compared to the non-exon-overlapping group in animals. Despite the numerous sense-antisense pairs identified in human and mouse individually, the number of conserved pairs was extremely small (6.6% of the entire set). Whereas both genes of most of the conserved sense-antisense pairs had protein-coding potential, nearly half of the non-conserved pairs included a non-coding RNA, suggesting that non-coding sense-antisense RNAs may function in species-specific regulatory pathways.
- Full-length cDNA
- Naturally occurring sense-antisense RNAs
- Non-coding RNA
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