LongGF: computational algorithm and software tool for fast and accurate detection of gene fusions by long-read transcriptome sequencing

BMC Genomics. 2020 Dec 29;21(Suppl 11):793. doi: 10.1186/s12864-020-07207-4.


Background: Long-read RNA-Seq techniques can generate reads that encompass a large proportion or the entire mRNA/cDNA molecules, so they are expected to address inherited limitations of short-read RNA-Seq techniques that typically generate < 150 bp reads. However, there is a general lack of software tools for gene fusion detection from long-read RNA-seq data, which takes into account the high basecalling error rates and the presence of alignment errors.

Results: In this study, we developed a fast computational tool, LongGF, to efficiently detect candidate gene fusions from long-read RNA-seq data, including cDNA sequencing data and direct mRNA sequencing data. We evaluated LongGF on tens of simulated long-read RNA-seq datasets, and demonstrated its superior performance in gene fusion detection. We also tested LongGF on a Nanopore direct mRNA sequencing dataset and a PacBio sequencing dataset generated on a mixture of 10 cancer cell lines, and found that LongGF achieved better performance to detect known gene fusions over existing computational tools. Furthermore, we tested LongGF on a Nanopore cDNA sequencing dataset on acute myeloid leukemia, and pinpointed the exact location of a translocation (previously known in cytogenetic resolution) in base resolution, which was further validated by Sanger sequencing.

Conclusions: In summary, LongGF will greatly facilitate the discovery of candidate gene fusion events from long-read RNA-Seq data, especially in cancer samples. LongGF is implemented in C++ and is available at https://github.com/WGLab/LongGF .

Keywords: Computational tool; Gene fusion; Long-read sequencing; Transcriptome sequencing.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Gene Fusion
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Software*
  • Transcriptome*