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The DNA damage response involves coordinated control of gene expression and DNA repair. Using deep sequencing, we found widespread changes of alternative cleavage and polyadenylation site usage on ultraviolet-treatment in mammalian cells. Alternative cleavage and polyadenylation regulation in the 3ʹ untranslated region is substantial, leading to both shortening and lengthening of 3ʹ untranslated regions of genes. Interestingly, a strong activation of intronic alternative cleavage and polyadenylation sites is detected, resulting in widespread expression of truncated transcripts. Intronic alternative cleavage and polyadenylation events are biased to the 5ʹ end of genes and affect gene groups with important functions in DNA damage response and cancer. Moreover, intronic alternative cleavage and polyadenylation site activation during DNA damage response correlates with a decrease in U1 snRNA levels, and is reversible by U1 snRNA overexpression. Importantly, U1 snRNA overexpression mitigates ultraviolet-induced apoptosis. Together, these data reveal a significant gene regulatory scheme in DNA damage response where U1 snRNA impacts gene expression via the U1-alternative cleavage and polyadenylation axis.


This article was originally published in Cell Discovery. doi:10.1038/celldisc.2016.13

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