Parallel analysis of RNA ends (PARE) is a technique utilizing high-throughput sequencing to profile uncapped, mRNA cleavage or decay products on a genome-wide basis. Tools currently available to validate miRNA targets using PARE data employ only annotated genes, whereas important targets may be found in unannotated genomic regions.
To handle such cases and to scale to the growing availability of PARE data and genomes, researchers from the University of Delaware, Newark developed a new tool, ‘sPARTA’ (small RNA-PARE target analyzer) that utilizes a built-in, plant-focused target prediction module (aka ‘miRferno’). sPARTA not only exhibits an unprecedented gain in speed but also it shows greater predictive power by validating more targets, compared to a popular alternative. In addition, the novel ‘seed-free’ mode, optimized to find targets irrespective of complementarity in the seed-region, identifies novel intergenic targets. To fully capitalize on the novelty and strengths of sPARTA, the researchers developed a web resource, ‘comPARE’, for plant miRNA target analysis; this facilitates the systematic identification and analysis of miRNA-target interactions across multiple species, integrated with visualization tools. This collation of high-throughput small RNA and PARE datasets from different genomes further facilitates re-evaluation of existing miRNA annotations, resulting in a ‘cleaner’ set of microRNAs.
Availability – sPARTA is released under GPL, and both the source code and a reference manual are available for download at: http://mpss.udel.edu/tools/mirna_apps/download.php.
The comPARE site is accessible at: https://mpss.udel.edu/tools/mirna_apps/comPARE.php.