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Mapping the RNA-Seq trash bin: Unusual transcripts in prokaryotic transcriptome sequencing data

: Doose, Gero; Alexis, Maria; Kirsch, Rebecca; Findeiß, Sven; Langenberger, David; Machné, Rainer; Mörl, Mario; Hoffmann, Steve; Stadler, Peter F.


RNA biology 10 (2013), Nr.7, S.1204-1210
ISSN: 1547-6286
ISSN: 1555-8584
Fraunhofer IZI ()
RNA-seq; self-splicing introns; split tRNAs; circular sRNAs

Prokaryotic transcripts constitute almost always uninterrupted intervals when mapped back to the genome. Split reads, i.e., RNA-seq reads consisting of parts that only map to discontiguous loci, are thus disregarded in most analysis pipelines. There are, however, some well-known exceptions, in particular, tRNA splicing and circularized small RNAs in Archaea as well as self-splicing introns. Here, we reanalyze a series of published RNA-seq data sets, screening them specifically for non-contiguously mapping reads. We recover most of the known cases together with several novel archaeal ncRNAs associated with circularized products. In Eubacteria, only a handful of interesting candidates were obtained beyond a few previously described group I and group II introns. Most of the atypically mapping reads do not appear to correspond to well-defined, specifically processed products. Whether this diffuse background is, at least in part, an incidental byproduct of prokaryotic RNA processing or whether it consists entirely of technical artifacts of reverse transcription or amplification remains unknown.