Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGFA), a pivotal regulator of angiogenesis and valuable therapeutic target, is characterised by alternative splicing which generates three principal isoforms, VEGFA121, VEGFA165 and VEGFA189. A second set of anti-angiogenic isoforms termed VEGFAxxxb that utilise an alternative splice site in the final exon have been widely reported, with mRNA detection based principally upon RT-PCR assays. We sought confirmation of the existence of the VEGFAxxxb isoforms within the abundant RNA sequencing data available publicly. Whilst sequences derived specifically from each of the canonical VEGFA isoforms were present in many tissues, there were no sequences derived from VEGFAxxxb isoforms. Sequencing of approximately 50,000 RT-PCR products spanning the exon 7-8 junction in 10 tissues did not identify any VEGFAxxxb transcripts. The absence or extremely low expression of these transcripts in vivo indicates that VEGFAxxxb isoforms are unlikely to play a role in normal physiology. Our analyses also revealed multiple novel splicing events supported by more reads than previously reported for VEGFA145 and VEGFA148 isoforms, including three from novel first exons consistent with existing transcription start site data. These novel VEGFA isoforms may play significant roles in specific cell types.
- Journal Article