skip to main content

Title: Minnow: a principled framework for rapid simulation of dscRNA-seq data at the read level
Abstract Summary With the advancements of high-throughput single-cell RNA-sequencing protocols, there has been a rapid increase in the tools available to perform an array of analyses on the gene expression data that results from such studies. For example, there exist methods for pseudo-time series analysis, differential cell usage, cell-type detection RNA-velocity in single cells, etc. Most analysis pipelines validate their results using known marker genes (which are not widely available for all types of analysis) and by using simulated data from gene-count-level simulators. Typically, the impact of using different read-alignment or unique molecular identifier (UMI) deduplication methods has not been widely explored. Assessments based on simulation tend to start at the level of assuming a simulated count matrix, ignoring the effect that different approaches for resolving UMI counts from the raw read data may produce. Here, we present minnow, a comprehensive sequence-level droplet-based single-cell RNA-sequencing (dscRNA-seq) experiment simulation framework. Minnow accounts for important sequence-level characteristics of experimental scRNA-seq datasets and models effects such as polymerase chain reaction amplification, cellular barcodes (CB) and UMI selection and sequence fragmentation and sequencing. It also closely matches the gene-level ambiguity characteristics that are observed in real scRNA-seq experiments. Using minnow, we explore the performance more » of some common processing pipelines to produce gene-by-cell count matrices from droplet-bases scRNA-seq data, demonstrate the effect that realistic levels of gene-level sequence ambiguity can have on accurate quantification and show a typical use-case of minnow in assessing the output generated by different quantification pipelines on the simulated experiment. Supplementary information Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online. « less
Authors:
; ;
Award ID(s):
1750472 1763680
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10132779
Journal Name:
Bioinformatics
Volume:
35
Issue:
14
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
i136 to i144
ISSN:
1367-4803
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Birol, Inanc (Ed.)
    Abstract Motivation Quantification estimates of gene expression from single-cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq) data have inherent uncertainty due to reads that map to multiple genes. Many existing scRNA-seq quantification pipelines ignore multi-mapping reads and therefore underestimate expected read counts for many genes. alevin accounts for multi-mapping reads and allows for the generation of ‘inferential replicates’, which reflect quantification uncertainty. Previous methods have shown improved performance when incorporating these replicates into statistical analyses, but storage and use of these replicates increases computation time and memory requirements. Results We demonstrate that storing only the mean and variance from a set of inferential replicates (‘compression’) is sufficient to capture gene-level quantification uncertainty, while reducing disk storage to as low as 9% of original storage, and memory usage when loading data to as low as 6%. Using these values, we generate ‘pseudo-inferential’ replicates from a negative binomial distribution and propose a general procedure for incorporating these replicates into a proposed statistical testing framework. When applying this procedure to trajectory-based differential expression analyses, we show false positives are reduced by more than a third for genes with high levels of quantification uncertainty. We additionally extend the Swish method to incorporate pseudo-inferential replicates and demonstrate improvements in computationmore »time and memory usage without any loss in performance. Lastly, we show that discarding multi-mapping reads can result in significant underestimation of counts for functionally important genes in a real dataset. Availability and implementation makeInfReps and splitSwish are implemented in the R/Bioconductor fishpond package available at https://bioconductor.org/packages/fishpond. Analyses and simulated datasets can be found in the paper’s GitHub repo at https://github.com/skvanburen/scUncertaintyPaperCode. Supplementary information Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.« less
  2. Abstract Motivation Droplet-based single-cell RNA-seq (dscRNA-seq) data are being generated at an unprecedented pace, and the accurate estimation of gene-level abundances for each cell is a crucial first step in most dscRNA-seq analyses. When pre-processing the raw dscRNA-seq data to generate a count matrix, care must be taken to account for the potentially large number of multi-mapping locations per read. The sparsity of dscRNA-seq data, and the strong 3’ sampling bias, makes it difficult to disambiguate cases where there is no uniquely mapping read to any of the candidate target genes. Results We introduce a Bayesian framework for information sharing across cells within a sample, or across multiple modalities of data using the same sample, to improve gene quantification estimates for dscRNA-seq data. We use an anchor-based approach to connect cells with similar gene-expression patterns, and learn informative, empirical priors which we provide to alevin’s gene multi-mapping resolution algorithm. This improves the quantification estimates for genes with no uniquely mapping reads (i.e. when there is no unique intra-cellular information). We show our new model improves the per cell gene-level estimates and provides a principled framework for information sharing across multiple modalities. We test our method on a combination of simulatedmore »and real datasets under various setups. Availability and implementation The information sharing model is included in alevin and is implemented in C++14. It is available as open-source software, under GPL v3, at https://github.com/COMBINE-lab/salmon as of version 1.1.0.« less
  3. Abstract Motivation

    Accurate estimation of transcript isoform abundance is critical for downstream transcriptome analyses and can lead to precise molecular mechanisms for understanding complex human diseases, like cancer. Simplex mRNA Sequencing (RNA-Seq) based isoform quantification approaches are facing the challenges of inherent sampling bias and unidentifiable read origins. A large-scale experiment shows that the consistency between RNA-Seq and other mRNA quantification platforms is relatively low at the isoform level compared to the gene level. In this project, we developed a platform-integrated model for transcript quantification (IntMTQ) to improve the performance of RNA-Seq on isoform expression estimation. IntMTQ, which benefits from the mRNA expressions reported by the other platforms, provides more precise RNA-Seq-based isoform quantification and leads to more accurate molecular signatures for disease phenotype prediction.

    Results

    In the experiments to assess the quality of isoform expression estimated by IntMTQ, we designed three tasks for clustering and classification of 46 cancer cell lines with four different mRNA quantification platforms, including newly developed NanoString’s nCounter technology. The results demonstrate that the isoform expressions learned by IntMTQ consistently provide more and better molecular features for downstream analyses compared with five baseline algorithms which consider RNA-Seq data only. An independent RT-qPCR experiment on seven genes inmore »twelve cancer cell lines showed that the IntMTQ improved overall transcript quantification. The platform-integrated algorithms could be applied to large-scale cancer studies, such as The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), with both RNA-Seq and array-based platforms available.

    Availability and implementation

    Source code is available at: https://github.com/CompbioLabUcf/IntMTQ.

    Supplementary information

    Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

    « less
  4. Abstract Motivation

    The biclustering of large-scale gene expression data holds promising potential for detecting condition-specific functional gene modules (i.e. biclusters). However, existing methods do not adequately address a comprehensive detection of all significant bicluster structures and have limited power when applied to expression data generated by RNA-Sequencing (RNA-Seq), especially single-cell RNA-Seq (scRNA-Seq) data, where massive zero and low expression values are observed.

    Results

    We present a new biclustering algorithm, QUalitative BIClustering algorithm Version 2 (QUBIC2), which is empowered by: (i) a novel left-truncated mixture of Gaussian model for an accurate assessment of multimodality in zero-enriched expression data, (ii) a fast and efficient dropouts-saving expansion strategy for functional gene modules optimization using information divergency and (iii) a rigorous statistical test for the significance of all the identified biclusters in any organism, including those without substantial functional annotations. QUBIC2 demonstrated considerably improved performance in detecting biclusters compared to other five widely used algorithms on various benchmark datasets from E.coli, Human and simulated data. QUBIC2 also showcased robust and superior performance on gene expression data generated by microarray, bulk RNA-Seq and scRNA-Seq.

    Availability and implementation

    The source code of QUBIC2 is freely available at https://github.com/OSU-BMBL/QUBIC2.

    Contact

    czhang87@iu.edu or qin.ma@osumc.edu

    Supplementary information

    Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

  5. Single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) enables high throughput measurement of RNA expression in individual cells. Due to technical limitations, scRNA-seq data often contain zero counts for many transcripts in individual cells. These zero counts, or dropout events, complicate the analysis of scRNA-seq data using standard analysis methods developed for bulk RNA-seq data. Current scRNA-seq analysis methods typically overcome dropout by combining information across cells, leveraging the observation that cells generally occupy a small number of RNA expression states. We introduce netNMF-sc, an algorithm for scRNA-seq analysis that leverages information across both cells and genes. netNMF-sc combines network-regularized non-negative matrix factorization with a procedure for handling zero inflation in transcript count matrices. The matrix factorization results in a low-dimensional representation of the transcript count matrix, which imputes gene abundance for both zero and non-zero entries and can be used to cluster cells. The network regularization leverages prior knowledge of gene-gene interactions, encouraging pairs of genes with known interactions to be close in the low-dimensional representation. We show that netNMF-sc outperforms existing methods on simulated and real scRNA-seq data, with increasing advantage at higher dropout rates (e.g. above 60%). Furthermore, we show that the results from netNMF-sc -- including estimation of gene-gene covariance --more »are robust to choice of network, with more representative networks leading to greater performance gains.« less