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Global Transcriptomics Uncovers Distinct Contributions From Splicing Regulatory Proteins to the Macrophage Innate Immune Response

Authors
  • Wagner, Allison R.1
  • Scott, Haley M.1
  • West, Kelsi O.1
  • Vail, Krystal J.1, 2
  • Fitzsimons, Timothy C.1
  • Coleman, Aja K.1
  • Carter, Kaitlyn E.1
  • Watson, Robert O.1
  • Patrick, Kristin L.1
  • 1 Department of Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology, College of Medicine, Texas A&M Health, Bryan, TX , (United States)
  • 2 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX , (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Frontiers in Immunology
Publisher
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
Jul 09, 2021
Volume
12
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.656885
Source
Frontiers
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Immunology
  • Original Research
License
Green

Abstract

Pathogen sensing via pattern recognition receptors triggers massive reprogramming of macrophage gene expression. While the signaling cascades and transcription factors that activate these responses are well-known, the role of post-transcriptional RNA processing in modulating innate immune gene expression remains understudied. Given their crucial role in regulating pre-mRNA splicing and other RNA processing steps, we hypothesized that members of the SR/hnRNP protein families regulate innate immune gene expression in distinct ways. We analyzed steady state gene expression and alternatively spliced isoform production in ten SR/hnRNP knockdown RAW 264.7 macrophage-like cell lines following infection with the bacterial pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (Salmonella). We identified thousands of transcripts whose abundance is increased or decreased by SR/hnRNP knockdown in macrophages. Notably, we observed that SR and hnRNP proteins influence expression of different genes in uninfected versus Salmonella-infected macrophages, suggesting functionalization of these proteins upon pathogen sensing. Likewise, we found that knockdown of SR/hnRNPs promoted differential isoform usage (DIU) for thousands of macrophage transcripts and that these alternative splicing changes were distinct in uninfected and Salmonella-infected macrophages. Finally, having observed a surprising degree of similarity between the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and DIUs in hnRNP K and U knockdown macrophages, we found that hnRNP K and U knockdown macrophages are both more restrictive to Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV), while hnRNP K knockdown macrophages are more permissive to Salmonella Typhimurium. Based on these findings, we conclude that many innate immune genes evolved to rely on one or more SR/hnRNPs to ensure the proper magnitude of their induction, supporting a model wherein pre-mRNA splicing is critical for regulating innate immune gene expression and controlling infection outcomes in macrophages ex vivo.

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