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Ab initio reconstruction of cell type–specific transcriptomes in mouse reveals the conserved multi-exonic structure of lincRNAs

Nature Biotechnology volume 28, pages 503510 (2010) | Download Citation

  • A Corrigendum to this article was published on 01 July 2010

This article has been updated


Massively parallel cDNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) provides an unbiased way to study a transcriptome, including both coding and noncoding genes. Until now, most RNA-Seq studies have depended crucially on existing annotations and thus focused on expression levels and variation in known transcripts. Here, we present Scripture, a method to reconstruct the transcriptome of a mammalian cell using only RNA-Seq reads and the genome sequence. We applied it to mouse embryonic stem cells, neuronal precursor cells and lung fibroblasts to accurately reconstruct the full-length gene structures for most known expressed genes. We identified substantial variation in protein coding genes, including thousands of novel 5′ start sites, 3′ ends and internal coding exons. We then determined the gene structures of more than a thousand large intergenic noncoding RNA (lincRNA) and antisense loci. Our results open the way to direct experimental manipulation of thousands of noncoding RNAs and demonstrate the power of ab initio reconstruction to render a comprehensive picture of mammalian transcriptomes.

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Change history

  • 09 July 2010

    In the version of this article initially published, the fourth sentence in the methods section “RNA extraction and library preparation” instead of saying a “procedure that combines a random priming step with a shearing step8,9,28 and results in fragments of ~700 bp in size” should have read, “procedure that combines fragmentation of mRNA to a peak size of ~750 nucleotides by heating6 followed by random-primed reverse transcription8.”. The error has been corrected in the HTML and PDF versions of the article.


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We thank M. Wernig (MIT) for providing NPC; M. Lin and M. Kellis (MIT) for CSF code; the Broad Sequencing Platform for sample sequencing; L. Gaffney for assistance with graphics; and C. Burge, J. Merkin, R. Bradley and members of Lander and Regev laboratories—in particular, M. Yassour, T. Mikkelsen and I. Amit—for discussions. A.R. and J.L.R. were supported by the Merkin Family Foundation for Stem Cell Research at the Broad Institute. M. Guttman was supported by a Vertex scholarship. Work was supported by a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface, a US National Institutes of Health PIONEER award, a US National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) R01 grant and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (A.R.), and NHGRI and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard (E.S.L.).

Author information

Author notes

    • Mitchell Guttman
    •  & Manuel Garber

    These authors contributed equally to this work.


  1. Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Mitchell Guttman
    • , Manuel Garber
    • , Joshua Z Levin
    • , Julie Donaghey
    • , James Robinson
    • , Xian Adiconis
    • , Lin Fan
    • , Magdalena J Koziol
    • , Andreas Gnirke
    • , Chad Nusbaum
    • , John L Rinn
    • , Eric S Lander
    •  & Aviv Regev
  2. Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Mitchell Guttman
    • , Eric S Lander
    •  & Aviv Regev
  3. Department of Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Magdalena J Koziol
    •  & John L Rinn
  4. Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Eric S Lander
  5. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Aviv Regev


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M. Guttman and M. Garber conceived the project, designed research, implemented Scripture, performed computational analysis and wrote the paper. A.G., C.N. and J.Z.L. oversaw cDNA sequencing, provided molecular biology advice and helped to edit the manuscript. J.D. constructed cDNA libraries, performed validation experiments and helped to edit the manuscript. J.R. implemented components of Scripture and provided computational support and technical advice. X.A., L.F. and M.J.K. constructed cDNA libraries. J.L.R. provided reagents and helped edit the manuscript. E.S.L. designed research direction and wrote the paper. A.R. provided cDNA sequencing guidance, conceived the project, designed research direction and wrote the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Mitchell Guttman or Manuel Garber or Aviv Regev.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Text and Figures

    Supplementary Notes 1 and 2, Supplementary Figures 1–7

Excel files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Table 1

    Number of novel transcriptional events in ES, MLF and NPC

  2. 2.

    Supplementary Table 2

    Primer sequences used for validation of novel events

Zip files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Software

    scripture.jar scripture.src.tgz

  2. 2.

    Supplementary Data

    ES.gff.gz ESTranscriptGraphs.tar.gz

  3. 3.

    Supplementary Data

    MLF.gff.gz MLFTranscriptGraphs.tar.gz

  4. 4.

    Supplementary Data

    NPC.gff.gz NPCTranscriptGraphs.tar.gz

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