Nanopore sequencing from Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) and Pacific BioSciences (PacBio) single-molecule real-time (SMRT) long-read isoform sequencing (Iso-Seq) are revolutionizing the way transcriptomes are analyzed. These methods offer many advantages over most widely used high-throughput short-read RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) approaches and allow a comprehensive analysis of transcriptomes in identifying full-length splice isoforms and several other post-transcriptional events. In addition, direct RNA-Seq provides valuable information about RNA modifications, which are lost during the PCR amplification step in other methods. Here, we present a comprehensive summary of important applications of these technologies in plants, including identification of complex alternative splicing (AS), full-length splice variants, fusion transcripts, and alternative polyadenylation (APA) events. Furthermore, we discuss the impact of the newly developed nanopore direct RNA-Seq in advancing epitranscriptome research in plants. Additionally, we summarize computational tools for identifying and quantifying full-length isoforms and other co/post-transcriptional events and discussed some of the limitations with these methods. Sequencing of transcriptomes using these new single-molecule long-read methods will unravel many aspects of transcriptome complexity in unprecedented ways as compared to previous short-read sequencing approaches. Analysis of plant transcriptomes with these new powerful methods that require minimum sample processing is likely to become the norm and is expected to uncover novel co/post-transcriptional gene regulatory mechanisms that control biological outcomes during plant development and in response to various stresses.
Journal: Frontiers in genetics