Dynamic control of gene expression is a hallmark of the circadian system. In mouse liver, approximately 5-20% of RNAs are expressed rhythmically, and over 50% of mouse genes are rhythmically expressed in at least one tissue. Recent genome-wide analyses unveiled that, in addition to rhythmic transcription, various post-transcriptional mechanisms play crucial roles in driving rhythmic gene expression. Alternative polyadenylation (APA) is an emerging post-transcriptional mechanism that changes the 3'-ends of transcripts by alternating poly(A) site usage. APA can thus result in changes in RNA processing, such as mRNA localization, stability, translation efficiency, and sometimes even in the localization of the encoded protein. It remains unclear, however, if and how APA is regulated by the circadian clock. To address this, we used an in silico approach and demonstrated in mouse liver that 57.4 % of expressed genes undergo APA and each gene has 2.53 poly(A) sites on average. Among all expressed genes, 2.9 % of genes alternate their poly(A) site usage with a circadian (i.e., approximately 24 hours) period. APA transcripts use distal sites with canonical poly(A) signals (PASs) more frequently; however, circadian APA transcripts exhibit less distinct usage preference between proximal and distal sites and use proximal sites more frequently. Circadian APA transcripts also harbor longer 3'UTRs, making them more susceptible to post-transcriptional regulation. Overall, our study serves as a platform to ultimately understand the mechanisms of circadian APA regulation.
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