Assisted transcriptome reconstruction and splicing orthology

Samuel Blanquart 1 Jean-Stéphane Varré 1 Paul Guertin 2 Amandine Perrin 1 Anne Bergeron 2 Krister M. Swenson 3
1 BONSAI - Bioinformatics and Sequence Analysis
Université de Lille, Sciences et Technologies, Inria Lille - Nord Europe, CRIStAL - Centre de Recherche en Informatique, Signal et Automatique de Lille (CRIStAL) - UMR 9189, CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
3 MAB - Méthodes et Algorithmes pour la Bioinformatique
LIRMM - Laboratoire d'Informatique de Robotique et de Microélectronique de Montpellier
Abstract : Background: Transcriptome reconstruction, defined as the identification of all protein isoforms that may be expressed by a gene, is a notably difficult computational task. With real data, the best methods based on RNA-seq data identify barely 21 % of the expressed transcripts. While waiting for algorithms and sequencing techniques to improve — as has been strongly suggested in the literature — it is important to evaluate assisted transcriptome prediction; this is the question of how alternative transcription in one species performs as a predictor of protein isoforms in another relatively close species. Most evidence-based gene predictors use transcripts from other species to annotate a genome, but the predictive power of procedures that use exclusively transcripts from external species has never been quantified. The cornerstone of such an evaluation is the correct identification of pairs of transcripts with the same splicing patterns, called splicing orthologs. Results: We propose a rigorous procedural definition of splicing orthologs, based on the identification of all ortholog pairs of splicing sites in the nucleotide sequences, and alignments at the protein level. Using our definition, we compared 24 382 human transcripts and 17 909 mouse transcripts from the highly curated CCDS database, and identified 11 122 splicing orthologs. In prediction mode, we show that human transcripts can be used to infer over 62 % of mouse protein isoforms. When restricting the predictions to transcripts known eight years ago, the percentage grows to 74 %. Using CCDS timestamped releases, we also analyze the evolution of the number of splicing orthologs over the last decade. Conclusions: Alternative splicing is now recognized to play a major role in the protein diversity of eukaryotic organisms, but definitions of spliced isoform orthologs are still approximate. Here we propose a definition adapted to the subtle variations of conserved alternative splicing sites, and use it to validate numerous accurate orthologous isoform predictions.
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BMC Genomics, BioMed Central, 2016, 17 (786), 〈10.1186/s12864-016-3103-6〉
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Samuel Blanquart, Jean-Stéphane Varré, Paul Guertin, Amandine Perrin, Anne Bergeron, et al.. Assisted transcriptome reconstruction and splicing orthology. BMC Genomics, BioMed Central, 2016, 17 (786), 〈10.1186/s12864-016-3103-6〉. 〈hal-01396410〉

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