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Bulk-tissue RNA-sequencing paired nuclear and cytoplasmic fractions of anterior prefrontal cortex, cerebellar cortex and putamen tissues from post-mortem neuropathologically-confirmed control individuals.

Gaining insight into the genetic regulation of gene expression in human brain is key to the interpretation of genome-wide association studies for major neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases. Expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) analyses have largely been used to achieve this, providing valuable insights into the genetic regulation of steady-state RNA in human brain, but not distinguishing between molecular processes regulating transcription and stability. RNA quantification within cellular fractions can disentangle these processes in cell types and tissues which are challenging to model in vitro. We investigated the underlying molecular processes driving the genetic regulation of gene expression specific to a cellular fraction using allele-specific expression (ASE). Applying ASE analysis to genomic and transcriptomic data from paired nuclear and cytoplasmic fractions of anterior prefrontal cortex, cerebellar cortex and putamen tissues from 4 post-mortem neuropathologically-confirmed control human brains, we demonstrate that a significant proportion of genetic regulation of gene expression occurs post-transcriptionally in the cytoplasm, with genes undergoing this form of regulation more likely to be synaptic. These findings have implications for understanding the structure of gene expression regulation in human brain, and importantly the interpretation of rapidly growing single-nucleus brain RNA-sequencing and eQTL datasets, where cytoplasm-specific regulatory events could be missed.

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Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00001009264 Illumina HiSeq 4000 22