1 Computational and RNA Biology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet2 RIKEN3 National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)4 unknown5 RIKEN6 Computational and RNA Biology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet
a pipeline to discover reproducible transcriptional start sites and their alternative regulation using capped analysis of gene expression (CAGE)
BACKGROUND: Next generation sequencing based technologies are being extensively used to study transcriptomes. Among these, cap analysis of gene expression (CAGE) is specialized in detecting the most 5' ends of RNA molecules. After mapping the sequenced reads back to a reference genome CAGE data highlights the transcriptional start sites (TSSs) and their usage at a single nucleotide resolution. RESULTS: We propose a pipeline to group the single nucleotide TSS into larger reproducible peaks and compare their usage across biological states. Importantly, our pipeline discovers broad peaks as well as the fine structure of individual transcriptional start sites embedded within them. We assess the performance of our approach on a large CAGE datasets including 156 primary cell types and two cell lines with biological replicas. We demonstrate that genes have complicated structures of transcription initiation events. In particular, we discover that narrow peaks embedded in broader regions of transcriptional activity can be differentially used even if the larger region is not. CONCLUSIONS: By examining the reproducible fine scaled organization of TSS we can detect many differentially regulated peaks undetected by previous approaches.