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    The tissue-specific profile of alternatively spliced genes (ASGs) and their involvement in reproduction processes characteristic of turkey testis, epididymis, and ductus deferens were investigated for the first time in birds. Deep sequencing of male turkey reproductive tissue RNA samples (n = 6) was performed using Illumina RNA-Seq with 2 independent methods, rMATs and SUPPA2, for differential alternative splicing (DAS) event prediction. The expression of selected ASGs was validated using quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. The testis was found to be the site of the highest number of posttranscriptional splicing events within the reproductive tract, and skipping exons were the most frequently occurring class of alternative splicing (AS) among the reproductive tract. Statistical analysis revealed 86, 229, and 6 DAS events in the testis/epididymis, testis/ductus deferens, and epididymis/ductus deferens comparison, respectively. Alternative splicing was found to be a mechanism of gene expression regulation within the turkey reproduction tract. In testis, modification was observed for spermatogenesis specific genes; the changes in 5' UTR could act as regulator of MEIG1 expression (a player during spermatocytes meiosis), and modification of 3' UTR led to diversification of CREM mRNA (modulator of gene expression related to the structuring of mature spermatozoa). Sperm tail formation can be regulated by changes in the 5' UTR of testicular SLC9A3R1 and gene silencing by producing dysfunctional variants of ODF2 in the testis and ATP1B3 in the epididymis. Predicted differentially ASGs in the turkey reproductive tract seem to be involved in the regulation of spermatogenesis, including acrosome formation and sperm tail formation and binding of sperm to the zona pellucida. Several ASGs were classified as cilia by actin and microtubule cytoskeleton organization. Such genes may play a role in the organization of sperm flagellum and post-testicular motility development. To our knowledge, this is the first functional investigation of alternatively spliced genes associated with tissue-specific processes in the turkey reproductive tract. Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    Łukasz Paukszto, Joanna Wiśniewska, Ewa Liszewska, Marta Majewska, Jan Jastrzębski, Jan Jankowski, Andrzej Ciereszko, Mariola Słowińska. Specific expression of alternatively spliced genes in the turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) reproductive tract revealed their function in spermatogenesis and post-testicular sperm maturation. Poultry science. 2023 Apr;102(4):102484

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    PMID: 36709584

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