Quaking regulates circular RNA production in cardiomyocytes

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Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a class of non-coding RNA molecules that are gaining increasing attention for their roles in various pathophysiological processes. The RNA-binding protein quaking (QKI) has been identified as a regulator of circRNA formation. In this study, we investigate the role of QKI in the formation of circRNAs in the heart by performing RNA-sequencing on Qki-knockout mice. Loss of QKI resulted in the differential expression of 17% of the circRNAs in adult mouse hearts. Interestingly, the majority of the QKI-regulated circRNAs (58%) were derived from genes undergoing QKI-dependent splicing, indicating a relationship between back-splicing and linear splicing. We compared these QKI-dependent circRNAs with those regulated by RBM20, another cardiac splicing factor essential for circRNA formation. We found that QKI and RBM20 regulate the formation of a distinct, but partially overlapping set of circRNAs in the heart. Strikingly, many shared circRNAs were derived from the Ttn gene, and they were regulated in an opposite manner. Our findings indicate that QKI not only regulates alternative splicing in the heart but also the formation of circRNAs.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberjcs261120
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


  • Alternative splicing
  • Cardiomyocytes
  • Quaking
  • RNA-binding proteins
  • circRNAs

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