The exposure of mouse embryos in utero and primary cortical neurons to ionizing radiation results in the P53-dependent activation of a subset of genes that is highly induced during brain development and neuronal maturation, a feature that these genes reportedly share with circular RNAs (circRNAs). Interestingly, some of these genes are predicted to express circular transcripts. In this study, we validated the abundance of the circular transcript variants of four P53 target genes (Pvt1, Ano3, Sec14l5, and Rnf169). These circular variants were overall more stable than their linear counterparts. They were furthermore highly enriched in the brain and their transcript levels continuously increase during subsequent developmental stages (from embryonic day 12 until adulthood), while no further increase could be observed for linear mRNAs beyond post-natal day 30. Finally, whereas radiation-induced expression of P53 target mRNAs peaks early after exposure, several of the circRNAs showed prolonged induction in irradiated embryonic mouse brain, primary mouse cortical neurons, and mouse blood. Together, our results indicate that the circRNAs from these P53 target genes are induced in response to radiation and they corroborate the findings that circRNAs may represent biomarkers of brain age. We also propose that they may be superior to mRNA as long-term biomarkers for radiation exposure.

Additional Metadata
Keywords circular RNA, ionizing radiation, P53 targets, embryonic brain, neuronal maturation
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells8080778, hdl.handle.net/1765/121137
Journal Cells
Citation
Mfossa, A.C.M., Puthenparampil, H.T., Inalegwu, A., Coolkens, A., Baatout, S., Benotmane, M. A., … Quintens, R. (2019). Exposure to Ionizing Radiation Triggers Prolonged Changes in Circular RNA Abundance in the Embryonic Mouse Brain and Primary Neurons. Cells, 8(8). doi:10.3390/cells8080778