Rapid development of next generation sequencing technology has enabled the identification of genomic alterations from short sequencing reads. There are a number of software pipelines available for calling single nucleotide variants from genomic DNA but, no comprehensive pipelines to identify, annotate and prioritize expressed SNVs (eSNVs) from non-directional paired-end RNA-Seq data. We have developed the eSNV-Detect, a novel computational system, which utilizes data from multiple aligners to call, even at low read depths, and rank variants from RNA-Seq. Multi-platform comparisons with the eSNV-Detect variant candidates were performed. The method was first applied to RNA-Seq from a lymphoblastoid cell-line, achieving 99.7% precision and 91.0% sensitivity in the expressed SNPs for the matching HumanOmni2.5 BeadChip data. Comparison of RNA-Seq eSNV candidates from 25 ER+ breast tumors from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project with whole exome coding data showed 90.6-96.8% precision and 91.6-95.7% sensitivity. Contrasting single-cell mRNA-Seq variants with matching traditional multicellular RNA-Seq data for the MD-MB231 breast cancer cell-line delineated variant heterogeneity among the single-cells. Further, Sanger sequencing validation was performed for an ER+ breast tumor with paired normal adjacent tissue validating 29 out of 31 candidate eSNVs. The source code and user manuals of the eSNV-Detect pipeline for Sun Grid Engine and virtual machine are available at http://bioinformaticstools.mayo.edu/research/esnv-detect/.
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