Cell type-specific transcriptomes are enabled by the action of multiple regulators, which are frequently expressed within restricted tissue regions. In the present study, we identify one such regulator, Quaking 5 (Qki5), as an RNA-binding protein (RNABP) that is expressed in early embryonic neural stem cells and subsequently down-regulated during neurogenesis. mRNA sequencing analysis in neural stem cell culture indicates that Qki proteins play supporting roles in the neural stem cell transcriptome and various forms of mRNA processing that may result from regionally restricted expression and subcellular localization. Also, our in utero electroporation gain-of-function study suggests that the nuclear-type Qki isoform Qki5 supports the neural stem cell state. We next performed in vivo transcriptome-wide protein–RNA interaction mapping to search for direct targets of Qki5 and elucidate how Qki5 regulates neural stem cell function. Combined with our transcriptome analysis, this mapping analysis yielded a bona fide map of Qki5–RNA interaction at single-nucleotide resolution, the identification of 892 Qki5 direct target genes, and an accurate Qki5-dependent alternative splicing rule in the developing brain. Last, our target gene list provides the first compelling evidence that Qki5 is associated with specific biological events; namely, cell–cell adhesion. This prediction was confirmed by histological analysis of mice in which Qki proteins were genetically ablated, which revealed disruption of the apical surface of the lateral wall in the developing brain. These data collectively indicate that Qki5 regulates communication between neural stem cells by mediating numerous RNA processing events and suggest new links between splicing regulation and neural stem cell states.
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