• DIGGER: exploring the functional role of alternative splicing in protein interactions.

      Louadi, Zakaria; Yuan, Kevin; Gress, Alexander; Tsoy, Olga; Kalinina, Olga V; Baumbach, Jan; Kacprowski, Tim; List, Markus; IPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (OxfordUniversity Press, 2020-09-25)
      Alternative splicing plays a major role in regulating the functional repertoire of the proteome. However, isoform-specific effects to protein-protein interactions (PPIs) are usually overlooked, making it impossible to judge the functional role of individual exons on a systems biology level. We overcome this barrier by integrating protein-protein interactions, domain-domain interactions and residue-level interactions information to lift exon expression analysis to a network level. Our user-friendly database DIGGER is available at https://exbio.wzw.tum.de/digger and allows users to seamlessly switch between isoform and exon-centric views of the interactome and to extract sub-networks of relevant isoforms, making it an essential resource for studying mechanistic consequences of alternative splicing.
    • An extended catalogue of tandem alternative splice sites in human tissue transcriptomes.

      Mironov, Aleksei; Denisov, Stepan; Gress, Alexander; Kalinina, Olga V; Pervouchine, Dmitri D; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (PLOS, 2021-04-07)
      Tandem alternative splice sites (TASS) is a special class of alternative splicing events that are characterized by a close tandem arrangement of splice sites. Most TASS lack functional characterization and are believed to arise from splicing noise. Based on the RNA-seq data from the Genotype Tissue Expression project, we present an extended catalogue of TASS in healthy human tissues and analyze their tissue-specific expression. The expression of TASS is usually dominated by one major splice site (maSS), while the expression of minor splice sites (miSS) is at least an order of magnitude lower. Among 46k miSS with sufficient read support, 9k (20%) are significantly expressed above the expected noise level, and among them 2.5k are expressed tissue-specifically. We found significant correlations between tissue-specific expression of RNA-binding proteins (RBP), tissue-specific expression of miSS, and miSS response to RBP inactivation by shRNA. In combination with RBP profiling by eCLIP, this allowed prediction of novel cases of tissue-specific splicing regulation including a miSS in QKI mRNA that is likely regulated by PTBP1. The analysis of human primary cell transcriptomes suggested that both tissue-specific and cell-type-specific factors contribute to the regulation of miSS expression. More than 20% of tissue-specific miSS affect structured protein regions and may adjust protein-protein interactions or modify the stability of the protein core. The significantly expressed miSS evolve under the same selection pressure as maSS, while other miSS lack signatures of evolutionary selection and conservation. Using mixture models, we estimated that not more than 15% of maSS and not more than 54% of tissue-specific miSS are noisy, while the proportion of noisy splice sites among non-significantly expressed miSS is above 63%.
    • A shift of dynamic equilibrium between the KIT active and inactive states causes drug resistance.

      Srikakulam, Sanjay K; Bastys, Tomas; Kalinina, Olga V; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Wiley, 2020-06-12)
      Integrative bioinformatics is an emerging field in the big data era, offering a steadily increasing number of algorithms and analysis tools. However, for researchers in experimental life sciences it is often difficult to follow and properly apply the bioinformatical methods in order to unravel the complexity and systemic effects of omics data. Here, we present an integrative bioinformatics pipeline to decipher crucial biological insights from global transcriptome profiling data to validate innovative therapeutics. It is available as a web application for an interactive and simplified analysis without the need for programming skills or deep bioinformatics background. The approach was applied to an ex vivo cardiac model treated with natural anti-fibrotic compounds and we obtained new mechanistic insights into their anti-fibrotic action and molecular interplay with miRNAs in cardiac fibrosis. Several gene pathways associated with proliferation, extracellular matrix processes and wound healing were altered, and we could identify micro (mi) RNA-21-5p and miRNA-223-3p as key molecular components related to the anti-fibrotic treatment. Importantly, our pipeline is not restricted to a specific cell type or disease and can be broadly applied to better understand the unprecedented level of complexity in big data research.
    • SphereCon-a method for precise estimation of residue relative solvent accessible area from limited structural information.

      Gress, Alexander; Kalinina, Olga V; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Oxford Academic, 2020-03-10)
      Motivation: In proteins, solvent accessibility of individual residues is a factor contributing to their importance for protein function and stability. Hence one might wish to calculate solvent accessibility in order to predict the impact of mutations, their pathogenicity and for other biomedical applications. A direct computation of solvent accessibility is only possible if all atoms of a protein three-dimensional structure are reliably resolved. Results: We present SphereCon, a new precise measure that can estimate residue relative solvent accessibility (RSA) from limited data. The measure is based on calculating the volume of intersection of a sphere with a cone cut out in the direction opposite of the residue with surrounding atoms. We propose a method for estimating the position and volume of residue atoms in cases when they are not known from the structure, or when the structural data are unreliable or missing. We show that in cases of reliable input structures, SphereCon correlates almost perfectly with the directly computed RSA, and outperforms other previously suggested indirect methods. Moreover, SphereCon is the only measure that yields accurate results when the identities of amino acids are unknown. A significant novel feature of SphereCon is that it can estimate RSA from inter-residue distance and contact matrices, without any information about the actual atom coordinates.