Gene expression is tightly regulated at the post-transcriptional level through splicing, transport, translation, and decay. RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) play key roles in post-transcriptional gene regulation, and genetic variants that alter RBP-RNA interactions can affect gene products and functions. We developed a computational method ASPRIN (Allele-Specific Protein-RNA Interaction) that uses a joint analysis of CLIP-seq (cross-linking and immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing) and RNA-seq data to identify genetic variants that alter RBP-RNA interactions by directly observing the allelic preference of RBP from CLIP-seq experiments as compared to RNA-seq. We used ASPRIN to systematically analyze CLIP-seq and RNA-seq data for 166 RBPs in two ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) cell lines. ASPRIN identified genetic variants that alter RBP-RNA interactions by modifying RBP binding motifs within RNA. Moreover, through an integrative ASPRIN analysis with population-scale RNA-seq data, we showed that ASPRIN can help reveal potential causal variants that affect alternative splicing via allele-specific protein-RNA interactions.
Bahrami-Samani, E., & Xing, Y. (2019). Discovery of Allele-Specific Protein-RNA Interactions in Human Transcriptomes. American Journal of Human Genetics, 104(3), 492–502. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.01.018