Heat stress induced alternative splicing in catfish as determined by transcriptome analysis

Suxu Tan, Wenwen Wang, Changxu Tian, Donghong Niu, Tao Zhou, Yulin Jin, Yujia Yang, Dongya Gao, Rex Dunham, Zhanjiang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Heat tolerance is increasingly becoming an important trait for aquaculture species with a changing climate. Transcriptional studies on responses to heat stress have been conducted in catfish, one of the most important economic aquaculture species around the world. The molecular mechanisms underlying heat tolerance is still poorly understood, especially at the post-transcriptional level including regulation of alternative splicing. In this study, existing RNA-Seq datasets were utilized to characterize the change of alternative splicing in catfish following heat treatment. Heat-tolerant and -intolerant catfish were differentiated by the time to lost equilibrium after heat stress. With heat stress, alternative splicing was generally increased. In heat-intolerant fish, the thermal stress induced 29.2% increases in alternative splicing events and 25.8% increases in alternatively spliced genes. A total of 282, 189, and 44 differential alternative splicing (DAS) events were identified in control-intolerant, control-tolerant, and intolerant-tolerant comparisons, corresponding to 252, 171, and 42 genes, respectively. Gene ontology analyses showed that genes involved in the molecular function of RNA binding were significantly enriched in DAS gene sets after heat stress in both heat-intolerant and -tolerant catfish compared with the control group. Similar results were also observed in the DAS genes between heat-intolerant and -tolerant catfish, and the biological process of RNA splicing was also enriched in this comparison, indicating the involvement of RNA splicing-related genes underlying heat tolerance. This is the first comprehensive study of alternative splicing in response to heat stress in fish species, providing insights into the molecular mechanisms of responses to the abiotic stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-172
Number of pages7
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part D: Genomics and Proteomics
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Alternative splicing
  • Fish
  • Genome
  • Heat stress
  • RNA-Seq

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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