A versatile workflow to integrate RNA-seq genomic and transcriptomic data into mechanistic models of signaling pathways
Garrido-Rodriguez, Martin; Lopez-Lopez, Daniel; Ortuno, Francisco M.; Pena-Chilet, Maria; Munoz, Eduardo; Calzado, Marco A.; Dopazo, Joaquin
MIGNON is a workflow for the analysis of RNA-Seq experiments, which not only efficiently manages the estimation of gene expression levels from raw sequencing reads, but also calls genomic variants present in the transcripts analyzed. Moreover, this is the first workflow that provides a framework for the integration of transcriptomic and genomic data based on a mechanistic model of signaling pathway activities that allows a detailed biological interpretation of the results, including a comprehensive functional profiling of cell activity. MIGNON covers the whole process, from reads to signaling circuit activity estimations, using state-of-the-art tools, it is easy to use and it is deployable in different computational environments, allowing an optimized use of the resources available. Author summary Currently, RNA massive sequencing RNA-seq is the most extensively used technique for gene expression profiling in a single assay. The output of RNA-seq experiments contains millions of sequences, generated from cDNA libraries produced by the retro-transcription of RNA samples, that need to be processed by computational methods to be transformed into meaningful biological information. Thus, a number of bioinformatic workflows and pipelines have been proposed to produce different types of gene expression measurements, including in some cases, functional annotations to facilitate biological interpretation. While most pipelines focus exclusively on transcriptional data, the ultimate activity of the resulting gene product also depends critically on its integrity. Although traditional hybridization-based transcriptomics methodologies (microarrays) miss this information, RNA-seq data also contains information on variants present in the transcripts that can affect the function of the gene product, which is systematically ignored by current RNA-seq pipelines. MIGNON is the first workflow able to perform an integrative analysis of transcriptomic and genomic data in the proper functional context, provided by a mechanistic model of signaling pathway activity, making thus the most of the information contained in RNA-Seq data. MIGNON is easy to use and to deploy and may become a valuable asset in fields such as personalized medicine.
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