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    ABSTRACT: Background Alternative Splicing (AS) as a post-transcription regulation mechanism is an important application of RNA-seq studies in eukaryotes. A number of software and computational methods have been developed for detecting AS. Most of the methods, however, are designed and tested on animal data, such as human and mouse. Plants genes differ from those of animals in many ways, e.g., the average intron size and preferred AS types. These differences may require different computational approaches and raise questions about their effectiveness on plant data. The goal of this paper is to benchmark existing computational differential splicing (or transcription) detection methods so that biologists can choose the most suitable tools to accomplish their goals.ResultsThis study compares the eight popular public available software packages for differential splicing analysis using both simulated and real Arabidopsis thaliana RNA-seq data. All software are freely available. The study examines the effect of varying AS ratio, read depth, dispersion pattern, AS types, sample sizes and the influence of annotation. Using a real data, the study looks at the consistences between the packages and verifies a subset of the detected AS events using PCR studies.Conclusions No single method performs the best in all situations. The accuracy of annotation has a major impact on which method should be chosen for AS analysis. DEXSeq performs well in the simulated data when the AS signal is relative strong and annotation is accurate. Cufflinks achieve a better tradeoff between precision and recall and turns out to be the best one when incomplete annotation is provided. Some methods perform inconsistently for different AS types. Complex AS events that combine several simple AS events impose problems for most methods, especially for MATS. MATS stands out in the analysis of real RNA-seq data when all the AS events being evaluated are simple AS events.
    BMC Bioinformatics 12/2014; 15(1):364. · 2.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The vast majority of multi-exon genes in higher eukaryotes are alternatively spliced and changes in alternative splicing (AS) can impact gene function or cause disease. High-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) has become a powerful technology for transcriptome-wide analysis of AS, but RT-PCR still remains the gold-standard approach for quantifying and validating exon splicing levels. We have developed PrimerSeq, a user-friendly software for systematic design and visualization of RT-PCR primers using RNA-seq data. PrimerSeq incorporates user-provided transcriptome profiles (i.e., RNA-seq data) in the design process, and is particularly useful for large-scale quantitative analysis of AS events discovered from RNA-seq experiments. PrimerSeq features a graphical user interface (GUI) that displays the RNA-seq data juxtaposed with the expected RT-PCR results. To enable primer design and visualization on user-provided RNA-seq data and transcript annotations, we have developed PrimerSeq as a stand-alone software that runs on local computers. PrimerSeq is freely available for Windows and Mac OS X along with source code at http://primerseq.sourceforge.net/. With the growing popularity of RNA-seq for transcriptome studies, we expect PrimerSeq to help bridge the gap between high-throughput RNA-seq discovery of AS events and molecular analysis of candidate events by RT-PCR.
    Genomics Proteomics & Bioinformatics 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: RNA-seq data is currently underutilized, in part because it is difficult to predict the functional impact of alternate transcription events. Recent software improvements in full-length transcript deconvolution prompted us to develop spliceR, an R package for classification of alternative splicing and prediction of coding potential. spliceR uses the full-length transcript output from RNA-seq assemblers to detect single or multiple exon skipping, alternative donor and acceptor sites, intron retention, alternative first or last exon usage, and mutually exclusive exon events. For each of these events spliceR also annotates the genomic coordinates of the differentially spliced elements, facilitating downstream sequence analysis. For each transcript isoform fraction values are calculated to identify transcript switching between conditions. Lastly, spliceR predicts the coding potential, as well as the potential nonsense mediated decay (NMD) sensitivity of each transcript. spliceR is an easy-to-use tool that extends the usability of RNA-seq and assembly technologies by allowing greater depth of annotation of RNA-seq data. spliceR is implemented as an R package and is freely available from the Bioconductor repository (http://www.bioconductor.org/packages/2.13/bioc/html/spliceR.html).
    BMC Bioinformatics 03/2014; 15(1):81. · 2.67 Impact Factor

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