SPORTS1.0: A Tool for Annotating and Profiling Non-coding RNAs Optimized for rRNA- and tRNA-derived Small RNAs

Genomics Proteomics Bioinformatics. 2018 Apr;16(2):144-151. doi: 10.1016/j.gpb.2018.04.004. Epub 2018 May 3.


High-throughput RNA-seq has revolutionized the process of small RNA (sRNA) discovery, leading to a rapid expansion of sRNA categories. In addition to the previously well-characterized sRNAs such as microRNAs (miRNAs), piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs), and small nucleolar RNA (snoRNAs), recent emerging studies have spotlighted on tRNA-derived sRNAs (tsRNAs) and rRNA-derived sRNAs (rsRNAs) as new categories of sRNAs that bear versatile functions. Since existing software and pipelines for sRNA annotation are mostly focused on analyzing miRNAs or piRNAs, here we developed the sRNA annotation pipelineoptimized for rRNA- and tRNA-derived sRNAs (SPORTS1.0). SPORTS1.0 is optimized for analyzing tsRNAs and rsRNAs from sRNA-seq data, in addition to its capacity to annotate canonical sRNAs such as miRNAs and piRNAs. Moreover, SPORTS1.0 can predict potential RNA modification sites based on nucleotide mismatches within sRNAs. SPORTS1.0 is precompiled to annotate sRNAs for a wide range of 68 species across bacteria, yeast, plant, and animal kingdoms, while additional species for analyses could be readily expanded upon end users' input. For demonstration, by analyzing sRNA datasets using SPORTS1.0, we reveal that distinct signatures are present in tsRNAs and rsRNAs from different mouse cell types. We also find that compared to other sRNA species, tsRNAs bear the highest mismatch rate, which is consistent with their highly modified nature. SPORTS1.0 is an open-source software and can be publically accessed at

Keywords: Annotation pipeline; RNA-seq data analysis; Small RNA; rsRNA; tsRNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / chemistry
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • RNA, Ribosomal / chemistry*
  • RNA, Ribosomal / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Interfering / chemistry
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Untranslated / chemistry*
  • RNA, Small Untranslated / metabolism
  • RNA, Transfer / chemistry*
  • RNA, Transfer / metabolism
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA / methods*
  • Software*


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • RNA, Small Untranslated
  • RNA, Transfer