Stable intronic sequence RNA (sisRNA), a new class of noncoding RNA from the oocyte nucleus of Xenopus tropicalis

Eugene J. Gardner, Zehra F. Nizami, Jr Conover Talbot, Joseph G. Gall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


To compare nuclear and cytoplasmic RNA from a single cell type, free of cross-contamination, we studied the oocyte of the frog Xenopus tropicalis, a giant cell with an equally giant nucleus. We isolated RNA from manually dissected nuclei and cytoplasm of mature oocytes and subjected it to deep sequencing. Cytoplasmic mRNA consisted primarily of spliced exons derived from ~6700 annotated genes. Nearly all of these genes were represented in the nucleus by intronic sequences. However, unspliced nascent transcripts were not detected. Inhibition of transcription or splicing for 1-2 d had little or no effect on the abundance of nuclear intronic sequences, demonstrating that they are unusually stable. RT-PCR analysis showed that these stable intronic sequences are transcribed from the coding strand and that a given intron can be processed into more than one molecule. Stable intronic sequence RNA (sisRNA) from the oocyte nucleus constitutes a new class of noncoding RNA. sisRNA is detectable by RT-PCR in samples of total RNA from embryos up to the mid-blastula stage, when zygotic transcription begins. Storage of sisRNA in the oocyte nucleus and its transmission to the developing embryo suggest that it may play important regulatory roles during oogenesis and/or early embryogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2550-2559
Number of pages10
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Intron
  • Lampbrush chromosome
  • Noncoding RNA
  • Oocyte
  • Transcription
  • Xenopus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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