1 Introduction

Welcome to the ORFik package. ORFik is an R package for analysis of transcript and translation features through manipulation of sequence data and NGS data. This vignette will walk you through how to how to download annotation and align data with ORFik.

2 Download and align: Yeast

Here we will show a full example of aligning RNA-seq from yeast using the SacCer3 genome.

2.1 Download genome and gtf files

To download annotation we use the getGenomeAndAnnotation function. We need to decide 3 things:

  • organism: Give scientific name of organism, with either " " or “_" between genus(saccharomyces) and species (cerevisiae).
  • output.dir: Where to output the annotation
  • assembly_type: If using ensembl as db argument, you need to decide if you want primary_assembly or toplevel. The uncompressed toplevel file of human genome is > 70 GB, so for big genomes you should usually set to primary_assembly. But for small organisms like yeast, they don’t have a primary assembly so use “toplevel”.
  library(ORFik)                        # This package
  annotation <- getGenomeAndAnnotation(
                      organism = "saccharomyces_cerevisiae", 
                      output.dir = "~/Bio_data/annotations/Yeast_SacCer3/",
                      assembly_type = "toplevel"

The function will also create a gtf.db object so speed up loading of annotation, and index your genome to a .fai file.

If you run this function again after you have run this function and downloaded the data once, it will not re-download, but just output the correct object, this makes it easy to rerun the script, when you have some steps already finished.

If you you want to remove contaminants: phix, non coding RNAs, ribosomalRNAs, or tRNAs, also specify these in the function. The function can only download phix and noncoding RNAs for you, so rRNAs you must manually download and add from Silva database, and tRNAs from tRNA scan or similar databases.

2.2 RNA-seq alignment

ORFik uses the STAR aligner, which is splice aware and fast. This will only work on unix systems (Linux or Mac) for now. To align the data we need two steps, the indexing of the genome step and the alignment to the genome step.

2.2.1 Indexing

To index the genome just give it the annotation output from previous step. This will also make an index for each of the depletion steps like phix, if you specified them in the earlier step.

index <- STAR.index(annotation, wait = FALSE)

If you run this function again after index exists in current file location, it will not re-index, but just output the correct object. Do remake = TRUE if you want to re-index.

2.2.2 Aligning the data

First we need some data to align, I here just show what would work for the paired end RNA-seq experiment SRR453566.

Here you will use your own data. If you want to follow the same example you can in terminal do for unix:

mkdir -p ~/Bio_data/raw_data/RNA-seq/Yeast_SRR453566/
cd ~/Bio_data/raw_data/RNA-seq/Yeast_SRR453566/
# Install fastq-dump (
fastq-dump  --split-files --gzip --skip-technical --readids --read-filter pass --clip SRR453566 

ORFik uses the fastp for trimming reads, this also only works on unix (Linux or Mac OS).

Now let’s see what we need as inputs for the alignment pipeline: We need usually 9 arguments (more are possible if you need them):

  • input.dir.rna: directory with fastq files (or trimmed files on mac)
  • output.dir.rna: output directory for bam files
  • index: the STAR index from previous step
  • paired.end: “yes” in this case, or “no” if single end.
  • steps: steps of depletion and alignment wanted: (a string: which steps to do? (default: “tr-ge”, write “all” to get all: “tr-ph-rR-nc-tR-ge”) tr: trimming (only for unix), ph: phix depletion, rR: rrna depletion, nc: ncrna depletion, tR: trna depletion, ge: genome alignment) Write your wanted steps, seperated by “-”. Order does not matter. To just do trim and alignment to genome write “tr-ge” On mac you can not do tr, so trim first then pass the trimmed files as input and use steps = “..-ge”
  • adapter.sequence “auto”, or if you know add it, usually more secure with manual.
  • max.cpus How many cpus maximum to use
  • trim.front How many bases to trim front. Only if you believe there are low quality reads in front.
  • min.length minimum length of reads that pass to the bam file.
input.dir.rna <- "~/Bio_data/raw_data/RNA-seq/Yeast_SRR453566/"
output.dir.rna <- "~/Bio_data/processed_data/RNAseq/Yeast_SRR453566/aligned_sacCer3/"
alignment <- 
  STAR.align.folder(input.dir.rna, output.dir.rna, index,
                    paired.end = "yes",
                    steps = "tr-ge", # (trim needed: adapters found, then genome)
                    adapter.sequence = "auto",
                    max.cpus = 30, trim.front = 3, min.length = 20)

If you used the fastp (tr step), you will get a pre-alignment QC report. Just like FastQC.

2.2.3 STAR multiQC

To get some plots and a statistics table of STAR runs, do:


3 Create an ORFik experiment of the Yeast data

To simplify coding and sharing of your work, you should make a ORFik experiment, check out the ORFik experiment vignette if you are unfamiliar with this class. You should first rename the bam files to more meaningful names, like RNA_WT_1 etc. Remember to keep a table of which SRA numbers correspond to which new file name. You do not need to do this, but this will make the ORFik experiment able to guess correctly what the data is. If there are replicates etc.

We can now easily make an ORFik experiment from the data we have:

txdb_file <- paste0(annotation["gtf"], ".db") # Get txdb file, not raw gtf
fa <- annotation["genome"]
create.experiment(exper = "yeast_exp_RNA",
                  dir = paste0(output.dir.rna, "/aligned/"),
                  txdb = txdb_file, fa = fa, 
                  organism = "Saccharomyces cerevisiae",
                  viewTemplate = FALSE, 
                  pairedEndBam = c(T) # True/False per bam file

The files is now saved to default directory which is: saveDir = “~/Bio_data/ORFik_experiments/”

df <- read.experiment("yeast_exp_RNA")

If you are not happy with the libtype, stage, replicates and so on for the file, you can edit the ORFik experiment in Libre Office, Excel or another spreadsheet viewer.

3.1 convert libraries to new formats

Now you have an experiment, but bam files are big and slow to load. Let’s convert to some faster formats.

If you want optimzed format identical to bam file, use .ofst. (Fastest, not readable in IGV)

  convertLibs(df, type = "ofst")

If you want peaks only, use wig files (Fast, readable in IGV)

  convertLibs(df, type = "wig")

As an example of how to load the data to R in the optimized format .ofst.

3.2 Outputting libraries to R

This will output the libraries to the environment specified, default .GlobalEnv (the default R environment). The files are named from the experiment table RNA_1_WT, RNA_1_treated etc.

outputLibs(df, type = "ofst")

If I rather want the wig format files:

  outputLibs(df, type = "wig")

3.3 Post alignment QC report

See ?QCreport for details of what you will get as output


3.4 FPKM values (normalized counts)

After you have run QCreport you will have count tables of peaks over the mrna’s, 5’ UTRs, CDS and 3’ UTRs.

Let’s do an example to find the ratio between fpkm of between the CDS and mRNAs transcript regions.

  mrna <- countTable(df, region = "mrna", type = "fpkm")
  cds <- countTable(df, region = "cds", type = "fpkm")
  ratio <- cds / mrna

We now have a ratio of fpkm values between CDS and mrna.