Assessing the hodgepodge of non-mapped reads in bacterial transcriptomes: real or artifactual RNA chimeras?

BMC Genomics. 2014 Jul 29;15(1):633. doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-15-633.


Background: RNA sequencing methods have already altered our view of the extent and complexity of bacterial and eukaryotic transcriptomes, revealing rare transcript isoforms (circular RNAs, RNA chimeras) that could play an important role in their biology.

Results: We performed an analysis of chimera formation by four different computational approaches, including a custom designed pipeline, to study the transcriptomes of M. pneumoniae and P. aeruginosa, as well as mixtures of both. We found that rare transcript isoforms detected by conventional pipelines of analysis could be artifacts of the experimental procedure used in the library preparation, and that they are protocol-dependent.

Conclusion: By using a customized pipeline we show that optimal library preparation protocol and the pipeline to analyze the results are crucial to identify real chimeric RNAs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Artifacts*
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • RNA Isoforms / genetics
  • RNA, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA / methods*
  • Software
  • Statistics as Topic / methods*


  • RNA Isoforms
  • RNA, Bacterial