RBP-Maps enables robust generation of splicing regulatory maps

RNA. 2019 Feb;25(2):193-204. doi: 10.1261/rna.069237.118. Epub 2018 Nov 9.


Alternative splicing of pre-messenger RNA transcripts enables the generation of multiple protein isoforms from the same gene locus, providing a major source of protein diversity in mammalian genomes. RNA binding proteins (RBPs) bind to RNA to control splice site choice and define which exons are included in the resulting mature RNA transcript. However, depending on where the RBPs bind relative to splice sites, they can activate or repress splice site usage. To explore this position-specific regulation, in vivo binding sites identified by methods such as cross-linking and immunoprecipitation (CLIP) are integrated with alternative splicing events identified by RNA-seq or microarray. Merging these data sets enables the generation of a "splicing map," where CLIP signal relative to a merged meta-exon provides a simple summary of the position-specific effect of binding on splicing regulation. Here, we provide RBP-Maps, a software tool to simplify generation of these maps and enable researchers to rapidly query regulatory patterns of an RBP of interest. Further, we discuss various alternative approaches to generate such splicing maps, focusing on how decisions in construction (such as the use of peak versus read density, or whole-reads versus only single-nucleotide candidate crosslink positions) can affect the interpretation of these maps using example eCLIP data from the 150 RBPs profiled by the ENCODE consortium.

Keywords: RNA binding protein; alternative splicing; eCLIP; splicing map.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing / genetics*
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Humans
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics*
  • RNA Splice Sites / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Software*


  • Protein Isoforms
  • RNA Splice Sites
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins