No, this post is not about the fear that our favorite subject strikes in the minds of students who are struggling with concepts and principles of gene expression. Rather, it’s about an interesting story that helps to illustrate (as if this is needed) the relevance of polyadenylation (and specifically poly(A) site choice) to medical science.
Mention has been made on this blog of a correlation between poly(A) site choice and cancer. Many meta-analyses and high throughput sequencing studies have also noted a related phenomenon – a great deal of alternative polyadenylation that seems to be specific for neural cells and tissues. One example of this is recalled in a recent paper that suggests a link between an alteration in alternative polyadenylation and aspects of memory and anxiety in mammals (including humans).