Background: Genetic variants in TREM2 are strongly associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk but alternative splicing in TREM2 transcripts has not been comprehensively described. Objective: Recognizing that alternative splice variants can result in reduced gene expression and/or altered function, we sought to fully characterize splice variation in TREM2. Methods: Human anterior cingulate autopsy tissue from 61 donors was used for end-point and quantitative PCR and western blotting to identify and quantify novel TREM2 isoforms. Results: In addition to previously described transcripts lacking exon 3 or exon 4, or retaining part of intron 3, we identified novel isoforms lacking exon 2, along with isoforms lacking multiple exons. Isoforms lacking exon 2 were predominant at approximately 10% of TREM2 mRNA in the brain. Expression of TREM2 and frequency of exon 2 skipping did not differ between AD samples and non-AD controls (p = 0.1268 and p = 0.4909, respectively). Further, these novel splice isoforms were also observed across multiple tissues with similar frequency (range 5.3 -13.0%). We found that the exon 2 skipped isoform D2-TREM2 is translated to protein and localizes similarly to full-length TREM2 protein, that both proteins are primarily retained in the Golgi complex, and that D2-TREM2 is expressed in AD and non-AD brain. Conclusion: Since the TREM2 ligand binding domain is encoded by exon 2, and skipping this exon retains reading frame while conserving localization, we hypothesize that D2-TREM2 acts as an inhibitor of TREM2 and targeting TREM2 splicing may be a novel therapeutic pathway for AD.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Alzheimer's Disease|
|State||Published - 2022|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by F99NS120365 (BCS), RF1AG059717 (SE), and R21AG068370 (SE). We would like to thank the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging Biorepository for samples, supported by P30 AG072946.
© 2022 - IOS Press. All rights reserved.
- Alternative splicing
- Alzheimer's disease
- gene expression
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuroscience (all)
- Clinical Psychology
- Geriatrics and Gerontology
- Psychiatry and Mental health