High throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) can generate whole transcriptome information at the single transcript level providing a powerful tool with multiple interrelated applications including transcriptome reconstruction and quantification. The sequences of novel transcripts can be reconstructed from deep RNA-Seq data, but this is computationally challenging due to sequencing errors, uneven coverage of expressed transcripts, and the need to distinguish between highly similar transcripts produced by alternative splicing. Another challenge in transcriptomic analysis comes from the ambiguities in mapping reads to transcripts.
A team led by researchers at UCLA have developed MaLTA, a method for simultaneous transcriptome assembly and quantification from Ion Torrent RNA-Seq data. Our approach explores transcriptome structure and incorporates a maximum likelihood model into the assembly and quantification procedure. A new version of the IsoEM algorithm suitable for Ion Torrent RNA-Seq reads is used to accurately estimate transcript expression levels.
Experimental results on both synthetic and real datasets show that Ion Torrent RNA-Seq data can be successfully used for transcriptome analyses. Experimental results suggest increased transcriptome assembly and quantification accuracy of MaLTA-IsoEM solution compared to existing state-of-the-art approaches.
Availability – The MaLTA-IsoEM tool is publicly available at: http://alan.cs.gsu.edu/NGS/?q=malta