tRF2Cancer: A web server to detect tRNA-derived small RNA fragments (tRFs) and their expression in multiple cancers.Nucleic Acids Res 2016; 44(W1):W185-93NA
tRNA-derived small RNA fragments (tRFs) are one class of small non-coding RNAs derived from transfer RNAs (tRNAs). tRFs play important roles in cellular processes and are involved in multiple cancers. High-throughput small RNA (sRNA) sequencing experiments can detect all the cellular expressed sRNAs, including tRFs. However, distinguishing genuine tRFs from RNA fragments generated by random degradation remains a major challenge. In this study, we developed an integrated web-based computing system, tRF2Cancer, to accurately identify tRFs from sRNA deep-sequencing data and evaluate their expression in multiple cancers. The binomial test was introduced to evaluate whether reads from a small RNA-seq data set represent tRFs or degraded fragments. A classification method was then used to annotate the types of tRFs based on their sites of origin in pre-tRNA or mature tRNA. We applied the pipeline to analyze 10 991 data sets from 32 types of cancers and identified thousands of expressed tRFs. A tool called 'tRFinCancer' was developed to facilitate the users to inspect the expression of tRFs across different types of cancers. Another tool called 'tRFBrowser' shows both the sites of origin and the distribution of chemical modification sites in tRFs on their source tRNA. The tRF2Cancer web server is available at http://rna.sysu.edu.cn/tRFfinder/.