Genome-wide analysis of transcriptome data in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii shows periodic patterns in gene expression levels when cultures are grown under alternating light and dark cycles so that G1 of the cell cycle occurs in the light phase and S/M/G0 occurs during the dark phase. However, alternative splicing, a process that enables a greater protein diversity from a limited set of genes, remains largely unexplored by previous transcriptome based studies in C. reinhardtii. In this study, we used existing longitudinal RNA-seq data obtained during the light-dark cycle to investigate the changes in the alternative splicing pattern and found that 3277 genes (19.75% of 17,746 genes) undergo alternative splicing. These splicing events include Alternative 59 (Alt 59), Alternative 39 (Alt 39) and Exon skipping (ES) events that are referred as alternative site selection (ASS) events and Intron retention (IR) events. By clustering analysis, we identified a subset of events (26 ASS events and 10 IR events) that show periodic changes in the splicing pattern during the cell cycle. About two-thirds of these 36 genes either introduce a pre-termination codon (PTC) or introduce insertions or deletions into functional domains of the proteins, which implicate splicing in altering gene function. These findings suggest that alternative splicing is also regulated during the Chlamydomonas cell cycle, although not as extensively as changes in gene expression. The longitudinal changes in the alternative splicing pattern during the cell cycle captured by this study provides an important resource to investigate alternative splicing in genes of interest during the cell cycle in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and other eukaryotes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3797-3810
Number of pages14
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Alternative splicing
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
  • Diurnal cell cycle


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