Alternative splicing of DENND1A, a PCOS candidate gene, generates variant 2

Meng Kian Tee, Mart Speek, Balázs Legeza, Bhavi Modi, Maria Eugenia Teves, Janette M. McAllister, Jerome F. Strauss, Walter L. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrinopathy characterized by hyperandrogenism and metabolic disorders. The excess androgens may be of both ovarian and adrenal origin. PCOS has a strong genetic component, and genome-wide association studies have identified several candidate genes, notably DENND1A, which encodes connecdenn 1, involved in trafficking of endosomes. DENND1A encodes two principal variants, V1 (1009 amino acids) and V2 (559 amino acids). The androgen-producing ovarian theca cells of PCOS women over-express V2. Knockdown of V2 in these cells reduces androgen production, and overexpression of V2 in normal theca cells confers upon them a PCOS phenotype of increased androgen synthesis. We report that human adrenal NCI-H295A cells express V1 and V2 mRNA and that the V2 isoform is produced by exonization of sequences in intron 20, which generates a unique exon 20A, encoding the C-terminus of V2. As in human theca cells from normal women, forced expression of V2 in NCI-H295A cells resulted in increased abundance of CYP17A1 and CYP11A1 mRNAs. We also found genetic variation in the intronic region 330 bp upstream from exon 20A, which could have the potential to drive the selective expression of V2. There was no clear association with these variants with PCOS when we analyzed genomc DNA from normal women and women with PCOS. Using minigene expression vectors in NCI-H295A cells, this variable region did not consistently favor splicing of the V2 transcript. These findings suggest increased V2 expression in PCOS theca cells is not the result of genomic sequence variation in intron 20.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-35
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
StatePublished - Oct 15 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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