Splice variants as novel targets in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.
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Despite a wealth of genomic information, a comprehensive alternative splicing (AS) analysis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has not been performed yet. In the present study, we assessed whole exome-based transcriptome and AS profiles of 43 pancreas tissues using Affymetrix exon array. The AS analysis of PDAC indicated on average two AS probe-sets (ranging from 1-28) in 1,354 significantly identified protein-coding genes, with skipped exon and alternative first exon being the most frequently utilised. In addition to overrepresented extracellular matrix (ECM)-receptor interaction and focal adhesion that were also seen in transcriptome differential expression (DE) analysis, Fc gamma receptor-mediated phagocytosis and axon guidance AS genes were also highly represented. Of note, the highest numbers of AS probe-sets were found in collagen genes, which encode the characteristically abundant stroma seen in PDAC. We also describe a set of 37 'hypersensitive' genes which were frequently targeted by somatic mutations, copy number alterations, DE and AS, indicating their propensity for multidimensional regulation. We provide the most comprehensive overview of the AS landscape in PDAC with underlying changes in the spliceosomal machinery. We also collate a set of AS and DE genes encoding cell surface proteins, which present promising diagnostic and therapeutic targets in PDAC.