Sci Rep 2019 10 11;9(1):14670. Epub 2019 Oct 11.
CRIBI Biotechnology Center, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.
Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundantly expressed in the haematopoietic compartment, but knowledge on their diversity among blood cell types is still limited. Nevertheless, emerging data indicate an array of circRNA functions exerted through interactions with other RNAs and proteins, by translation into peptides, and circRNA involvement as regulatory molecules in many biological processes and cancer mechanisms. Interestingly, the role of specific circRNAs in leukemogenesis has been disclosed by a few studies, mostly in acute myeloid leukemia. In this study, circRNA expression in B-cells, T-cells and monocytes of healthy subjects is described, including putative new circRNA genes. Expression comparison considered 6,228 circRNAs and highlighted cell population-specific expression and exon usage patterns. Differential expression has been confirmed by qRT-PCR for circRNAs specific of B-cells (circPAX5, circAFF3, circIL4R, and circSETBP1) or T-cells (circIKZF1, circTNIK, circTXK, and circFBXW7), and for circRNAs from intronic (circBCL2) and intergenic regions that were overexpressed in lymphocytes. Starting from this resource of circRNA expression in mature blood cell populations, targeted examination identified striking and generalized upregulated expression of circPAX5, circPVT1 and circHIPK3 in pediatric B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and disclosed circRNAs with variable expression across cytogenetic subtypes.