Identification of differentially regulated splice variants and novel exons in glial brain tumors using exon expression arrays
Aberrant splice variants are involved in the initiation and/or progression of glial brain tumors. We therefore set out to identify splice variants that are differentially expressed between histologic subgroups of gliomas. Splice variants were identified using a novel platform that profiles the expression of virtually all known and predicted exons present in the human genome. Exon-level expression profiling was done on 26 glioblas tomas, 22 oligodendrogliomas, and 6 control brain samples. Our results show that Human Exon arrays can identify subgroups of gliomas based on their histologic appearance and genetic aberrations. We next used our expression data to identify differentially expressed splice variants. In two independent approaches, we identified 49 and up to 459 exons that are differentially spliced between glioblastomas and oligodendrogliomas, a subset of which (47% and 33%) were confirmed by reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR). In addition, exon level expression profiling also identified >700 novel exons. Expression of ∼67% of these candidate novel exons was confirmed by RT-PCR. Our results indicate that exon level expression profiling can be used to molecularly classify brain tumor subgroups, can identify differentially regulated splice variants, and can identify novel exons. The splice variants identified by exon level expression profiling may help to detect the genetic changes that cause or maintain gliomas and may serve as novel treatment targets.