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Long-Read Sequencing – A Powerful Tool in Viral Transcriptome Research

Boldogkői, Zsolt, Moldován, Norbert, Balázs, Zsolt, Snyder, Michael, Tombácz, Dóra
Trends in microbiology 2019 v.27 no.7 pp. 578-592
DNA, genome, messenger RNA, nanopores, transcription (genetics), transcriptome, transcriptomics, viruses
Long-read sequencing (LRS) has become increasingly popular due to its strengths in de novo assembly and in resolving complex DNA regions as well as in determining full-length RNA molecules. Two important LRS technologies have been developed during the past few years, including single-molecule, real-time sequencing by Pacific Biosciences, and nanopore sequencing by Oxford Nanopore Technologies. Although current LRS methods produce lower coverage, and are more error prone than short-read sequencing, these methods continue to be superior in identifying transcript isoforms including multispliced RNAs and transcript-length variants as well as overlapping transcripts and alternative polycistronic RNA molecules. Viruses have small, compact genomes and therefore these organisms are ideal subjects for transcriptome analysis with the relatively low-throughput LRS techniques. Recent LRS studies have multiplied the number of previously known transcripts and have revealed complex networks of transcriptional overlaps in the examined viruses.