Aptardi predicts polyadenylation sites in sample-specific transcriptomes using high-throughput RNA sequencing and DNA sequence

Nat Commun. 2021 Mar 12;12(1):1652. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-21894-x.


Annotation of polyadenylation sites from short-read RNA sequencing alone is a challenging computational task. Other algorithms rooted in DNA sequence predict potential polyadenylation sites; however, in vivo expression of a particular site varies based on a myriad of conditions. Here, we introduce aptardi (alternative polyadenylation transcriptome analysis from RNA-Seq data and DNA sequence information), which leverages both DNA sequence and RNA sequencing in a machine learning paradigm to predict expressed polyadenylation sites. Specifically, as input aptardi takes DNA nucleotide sequence, genome-aligned RNA-Seq data, and an initial transcriptome. The program evaluates these initial transcripts to identify expressed polyadenylation sites in the biological sample and refines transcript 3'-ends accordingly. The average precision of the aptardi model is twice that of a standard transcriptome assembler. In particular, the recall of the aptardi model (the proportion of true polyadenylation sites detected by the algorithm) is improved by over three-fold. Also, the model-trained using the Human Brain Reference RNA commercial standard-performs well when applied to RNA-sequencing samples from different tissues and different mammalian species. Finally, aptardi's input is simple to compile and its output is easily amenable to downstream analyses such as quantitation and differential expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / methods*
  • Humans
  • Polyadenylation*
  • RNA / chemistry
  • RNA / metabolism
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Systems Biology
  • Transcriptome*


  • RNA