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Molecular barcoding of native RNAs using nanopore sequencing and deep learning


Nanopore sequencing enables direct measurement of RNA molecules without conversion to cDNA, thus opening the gates to a new era for RNA biology. However, the lack of molecular barcoding of direct RNA nanopore sequencing data sets severely affects the applicability of this technology to biological samples, where RNA availability is often limited. Here, we provide the first experimental protocol and associated algorithm to barcode and demultiplex direct RNA nanopore sequencing data sets. Specifically, we present a novel and robust approach to accurately classify raw nanopore signal data by transforming current intensities into images or arrays of pixels, followed by classification using a deep learning algorithm. We demonstrate the power of this strategy by developing the first experimental protocol for barcoding and demultiplexing direct RNA sequencing libraries. Our method, DeePlexiCon, can classify 93% of reads with 95.1% accuracy or 60% of reads with 99.9% accuracy. The availability of an efficient and simple multiplexing strategy for native RNA sequencing will improve the cost-effectiveness of this technology, as well as facilitate the analysis of lower-input biological samples. Overall, our work exemplifies the power, simplicity, and robustness of signal-to-image conversion for nanopore data analysis using deep learning.

Type Journal
ISBN 1088-9051
Authors Smith, Martin A; Ersavas, Tansel; Ferguson, James M; Liu, Huanle; Lucas, Morghan C; Begik, Oguzhan; Bojarski, Lilly; Barton, Kirston; Novoa, Eva Maria
Responsible Garvan Author James Ferguson
Published Date 2020-09-09
Published Volume 30
Published Issue 9
Published Pages 1345-1353
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.1101/gr.260836.120
URL link to publisher's version