Expression and splicing of ABC and SLC transporters in the human blood-brain barrier measured with RNAseq

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The blood-brain barrier (BBB) expresses numerous membrane transporters that supply needed nutrients to the central nervous system (CNS), consisting mostly of solute carriers (SLC transporters), or remove unwanted substrates via extrusion pumps through the action of ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporters. Previous work has identified many BBB transporters using hybridization arrays or qRT-PCR, using targeted probes. Here we have performed next-generation sequencing of the transcriptome (RNAseq) extracted from cerebral cortex tissues and brain microvessel endothelial cells (BMEC) obtained from two donors. The same RNA samples had previously been measured for transporter expression using qRT-PCR (Geier et al., 2013), yielding similar expression levels for overlapping mRNAs (R = 0.66, p < 0.001). RNAseq confirms a number of transporters highly enriched in BMECs (e.g., ABCB1, ABCG2, SLCO2B1, and SLC47A1), but also detects novel BMEC transporters. Multiple splice isoforms detected by RNAseq are either robustly enriched or depleted in BMECs, indicating differential RNA processing in the BBB. The Complete RNAseq data are publically available (GSE94064).

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