Researchers investigate how RNA alternative splicing, a process where genes create different versions of their instructions, might be linked to alcohol use disorder (AUD). Previous research found changes in RNA splicing in the brains of individuals with AUD, but it’s unclear if these changes contribute to the disorder. The challenge is the lack of large-scale data on RNA splicing in brains of people with and without AUD. To tackle this, this study used computational models to predict which splicing events might be involved. Researchers then examined the genetic factors influencing these splicing events and their connection to AUD using genetic and clinical data. They discovered that a specific alternatively spliced part of a gene called ELOVL7 is linked to AUD susceptibility. This study helps us understand how RNA splicing might contribute to complex diseases like AUD and opens new avenues for research and potential treatments.
Li R, Reiter JL, Chen AB, Chen SX, Foroud T, Edenberg HJ, Lai D, Liu Y (2023) RNA alternative splicing impacts the risk for alcohol use disorder. Molecular Psychiatry. PMID: 37217680; DOI: 10.1038/s41380-023-02111-1