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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

RNA sequencing: the teenage years.

Over the past decade, RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) has become an indispensable tool for transcriptome-wide analysis of differential gene expression and differential splicing of mRNAs. However, as next-generation sequencing technologies have developed, so too has RNA-seq. Now, RNA-seq methods are available for studying many different aspects of RNA biology, including single-cell gene expression, translation (the translatome) and RNA structure (the structurome). Exciting new applications are being explored, such as spatial transcriptomics (spatialomics). Together with new long-read and direct RNA-seq technologies and better computational tools for data analysis, innovations in RNA-seq are contributing to a fuller understanding of RNA biology, from questions…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

PacBio full-length cDNA sequencing integrated with RNA-seq reads drastically improves the discovery of splicing transcripts in rice.

In eukaryotes, alternative splicing (AS) greatly expands the diversity of transcripts. However, it is challenging to accurately determine full-length splicing isoforms. Recently, more studies have taken advantage of Pacific Bioscience (PacBio) long-read sequencing to identify full-length transcripts. Nevertheless, the high error rate of PacBio reads seriously offsets the advantages of long reads, especially for accurately identifying splicing junctions. To best capitalize on the features of long reads, we used Illumina RNA-seq reads to improve PacBio circular consensus sequence (CCS) quality and to validate splicing patterns in the rice transcriptome. We evaluated the impact of CCS accuracy on the number and…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Genetic basis of functional variability in adhesion G protein-coupled receptors.

The enormous sizes of adhesion G protein-coupled receptors (aGPCRs) go along with complex genomic exon-intron architectures giving rise to multiple mRNA variants. There is a need for a comprehensive catalog of aGPCR variants for proper evaluation of the complex functions of aGPCRs found in structural, in vitro and animal model studies. We used an established bioinformatics pipeline to extract, quantify and visualize mRNA variants of aGPCRs from deeply sequenced transcriptomes. Data analysis showed that aGPCRs have multiple transcription start sites even within introns and that tissue-specific splicing is frequent. On average, 19 significantly expressed transcript variants are derived from a…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Leveraging multiple transcriptome assembly methods for improved gene structure annotation.

The performance of RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) aligners and assemblers varies greatly across different organisms and experiments, and often the optimal approach is not known beforehand.Here, we show that the accuracy of transcript reconstruction can be boosted by combining multiple methods, and we present a novel algorithm to integrate multiple RNA-seq assemblies into a coherent transcript annotation. Our algorithm can remove redundancies and select the best transcript models according to user-specified metrics, while solving common artifacts such as erroneous transcript chimerisms.We have implemented this method in an open-source Python3 and Cython program, Mikado, available on GitHub.

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Global transcript structure resolution of high gene density genomes through multi-platform data integration.

Annotation of herpesvirus genomes has traditionally been undertaken through the detection of open reading frames and other genomic motifs, supplemented with sequencing of individual cDNAs. Second generation sequencing and high-density microarray studies have revealed vastly greater herpesvirus transcriptome complexity than is captured by existing annotation. The pervasive nature of overlapping transcription throughout herpesvirus genomes, however, poses substantial problems in resolving transcript structures using these methods alone. We present an approach that combines the unique attributes of Pacific Biosciences Iso-Seq long-read, Illumina short-read and deepCAGE (Cap Analysis of Gene Expression) sequencing to globally resolve polyadenylated isoform structures in replicating Epstein-Barr virus…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Bayesian nonparametric discovery of isoforms and individual specific quantification.

Most human protein-coding genes can be transcribed into multiple distinct mRNA isoforms. These alternative splicing patterns encourage molecular diversity, and dysregulation of isoform expression plays an important role in disease etiology. However, isoforms are difficult to characterize from short-read RNA-seq data because they share identical subsequences and occur in different frequencies across tissues and samples. Here, we develop BIISQ, a Bayesian nonparametric model for isoform discovery and individual specific quantification from short-read RNA-seq data. BIISQ does not require isoform reference sequences but instead estimates an isoform catalog shared across samples. We use stochastic variational inference for efficient posterior estimates and…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Gaining comprehensive biological insight into the transcriptome by performing a broad-spectrum RNA-seq analysis.

RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) is an essential technique for transcriptome studies, hundreds of analysis tools have been developed since it was debuted. Although recent efforts have attempted to assess the latest available tools, they have not evaluated the analysis workflows comprehensively to unleash the power within RNA-seq. Here we conduct an extensive study analysing a broad spectrum of RNA-seq workflows. Surpassing the expression analysis scope, our work also includes assessment of RNA variant-calling, RNA editing and RNA fusion detection techniques. Specifically, we examine both short- and long-read RNA-seq technologies, 39 analysis tools resulting in ~120 combinations, and ~490 analyses involving 15 samples…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Complex rearrangements and oncogene amplifications revealed by long-read DNA and RNA sequencing of a breast cancer cell line.

The SK-BR-3 cell line is one of the most important models for HER2+ breast cancers, which affect one in five breast cancer patients. SK-BR-3 is known to be highly rearranged, although much of the variation is in complex and repetitive regions that may be underreported. Addressing this, we sequenced SK-BR-3 using long-read single molecule sequencing from Pacific Biosciences and develop one of the most detailed maps of structural variations (SVs) in a cancer genome available, with nearly 20,000 variants present, most of which were missed by short-read sequencing. Surrounding the important ERBB2 oncogene (also known as HER2), we discover a…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Computational analysis of alternative splicing in plant genomes.

Computational analyses play crucial roles in characterizing splicing isoforms in plant genomes. In this review, we provide a survey of computational tools used in recently published, genome-scale splicing analyses in plants. We summarize the commonly used software and pipelines for read mapping, isoform reconstruction, isoform quantification, and differential expression analysis. We also discuss methods for analyzing long reads and the strategies to combine long and short reads in identifying splicing isoforms. We review several tools for characterizing local splicing events, splicing graphs, coding potential, and visualizing splicing isoforms. We further discuss the procedures for identifying conserved splicing isoforms across plant…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

SQANTI: extensive characterization of long-read transcript sequences for quality control in full-length transcriptome identification and quantification.

High-throughput sequencing of full-length transcripts using long reads has paved the way for the discovery of thousands of novel transcripts, even in well-annotated mammalian species. The advances in sequencing technology have created a need for studies and tools that can characterize these novel variants. Here, we present SQANTI, an automated pipeline for the classification of long-read transcripts that can assess the quality of data and the preprocessing pipeline using 47 unique descriptors. We apply SQANTI to a neuronal mouse transcriptome using Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) long reads and illustrate how the tool is effective in characterizing and describing the composition of…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Characterization of the human ESC transcriptome by hybrid sequencing.

Although transcriptional and posttranscriptional events are detected in RNA-Seq data from second-generation sequencing, full-length mRNA isoforms are not captured. On the other hand, third-generation sequencing, which yields much longer reads, has current limitations of lower raw accuracy and throughput. Here, we combine second-generation sequencing and third-generation sequencing with a custom-designed method for isoform identification and quantification to generate a high-confidence isoform dataset for human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). We report 8,084 RefSeq-annotated isoforms detected as full-length and an additional 5,459 isoforms predicted through statistical inference. Over one-third of these are novel isoforms, including 273 RNAs from gene loci that have…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Multi-platform assessment of transcriptome profiling using RNA-seq in the ABRF next-generation sequencing study.

High-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) greatly expands the potential for genomics discoveries, but the wide variety of platforms, protocols and performance capabilitites has created the need for comprehensive reference data. Here we describe the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities next-generation sequencing (ABRF-NGS) study on RNA-seq. We carried out replicate experiments across 15 laboratory sites using reference RNA standards to test four protocols (poly-A-selected, ribo-depleted, size-selected and degraded) on five sequencing platforms (Illumina HiSeq, Life Technologies PGM and Proton, Pacific Biosciences RS and Roche 454). The results show high intraplatform (Spearman rank R > 0.86) and inter-platform (R > 0.83) concordance for…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Abiotic stresses modulate landscape of poplar transcriptome via alternative splicing differential intron retention, and isoform ratio switching.

Abiotic stresses affect plant physiology, development, growth, and alter pre-mRNA splicing. Western poplar is a model woody tree and a potential bioenergy feedstock. To investigate the extent of stress-regulated alternative splicing (AS), we conducted an in-depth survey of leaf, root, and stem xylem transcriptomes under drought, salt, or temperature stress. Analysis of approximately one billion of genome-aligned RNA-Seq reads from tissue- or stress-specific libraries revealed over fifteen millions of novel splice junctions. Transcript models supported by both RNA-Seq and single molecule isoform sequencing (Iso-Seq) data revealed a broad array of novel stress- and/or tissue-specific isoforms. Analysis of Iso-Seq data also…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Single-cell RNAseq for the study of isoforms-how is that possible?

Single-cell RNAseq and alternative splicing studies have recently become two of the most prominent applications of RNAseq. However, the combination of both is still challenging, and few research efforts have been dedicated to the intersection between them. Cell-level insight on isoform expression is required to fully understand the biology of alternative splicing, but it is still an open question to what extent isoform expression analysis at the single-cell level is actually feasible. Here, we establish a set of four conditions that are required for a successful single-cell-level isoform study and evaluate how these conditions are met by these technologies in…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Event analysis: Using transcript events to improve estimates of abundance in RNA-seq data.

Alternative splicing leverages genomic content by allowing the synthesis of multiple transcripts and, by implication, protein isoforms, from a single gene. However, estimating the abundance of transcripts produced in a given tissue from short sequencing reads is difficult and can result in both the construction of transcripts that do not exist, and the failure to identify true transcripts. An alternative approach is to catalog the events that make up isoforms (splice junctions and exons). We present here the Event Analysis (EA) approach, where we project transcripts onto the genome and identify overlapping/unique regions and junctions. In addition, all possible logical…

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