Differential and coherent processing patterns from small RNAs

Sci Rep. 2015 Jul 13:5:12062. doi: 10.1038/srep12062.


Post-transcriptional processing events related to short RNAs are often reflected in their read profile patterns emerging from high-throughput sequencing data. MicroRNA arm switching across different tissues is a well-known example of what we define as differential processing. Here, short RNAs from the nine cell lines of the ENCODE project, irrespective of their annotation status, were analyzed for genomic loci representing differential or coherent processing. We observed differential processing predominantly in RNAs annotated as miRNA, snoRNA or tRNA. Four out of five known cases of differentially processed miRNAs that were in the input dataset were recovered and several novel cases were discovered. In contrast to differential processing, coherent processing is observed widespread in both annotated and unannotated regions. While the annotated loci predominantly consist of ~24 nt short RNAs, the unannotated loci comparatively consist of ~17 nt short RNAs. Furthermore, these ~17 nt short RNAs are significantly enriched for overlap to transcription start sites and DNase I hypersensitive sites (p-value < 0.01) that are characteristic features of transcription initiation RNAs. We discuss how the computational pipeline developed in this study has the potential to be applied to other forms of RNA-seq data for further transcriptome-wide studies of differential and coherent processing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / instrumentation
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional / genetics
  • RNA, Small Nucleolar / genetics
  • RNA, Transfer / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA / methods
  • Transcription Initiation Site / physiology
  • Transcriptome / genetics


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Small Nucleolar
  • RNA, Transfer