featureCounts Output "The reads are assigned on the single-end mode"
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Entering edit mode
10 days ago

Hello,

I am having some trouble interpreting the output of featureCounts. I am interested in completing differential gene expression analysis.

This is my input code:

results=/blue/RNAseq2022/results
DATA=/blue/RNAseq2022/results/HISAT2_Alignment_Index1
GTF=/blue/RNAseq2022/results/GTF
OUTPUT=/blue/RNAseq2022/results/FeatureCounts

cd ${results} ml subread prefix=$(basename ${1} ".bam") featureCounts -p -s 0 -a${GTF}/Bos_taurus.ARS-UCD1.2.109.gtf.gz -o ${OUTPUT}/${prefix}Counts.txt ${DATA}/${prefix}.bam


All samples were run in parallel (additional run file not included) and submitted as SLURM job.

Output for one of the samples:

        ==========     _____ _    _ ____  _____  ______          _____
=====         / ____| |  | |  _ \|  __ \|  ____|   /\   |  __ \
=====      | (___ | |  | | |_) | |__) | |__     /  \  | |  | |
====      \___ \| |  | |  _ <|  _  /|  __|   / /\ \ | |  | |
====    ____) | |__| | |_) | | \ \| |____ / ____ \| |__| |
==========   |_____/ \____/|____/|_|  \_\______/_/    \_\_____/
v2.0.3

//========================== featureCounts setting ===========================\\
||                                                                            ||
||             Input files : 1 BAM file                                       ||
||                                                                            ||
||                           210177-1.bam                                     ||
||                                                                            ||
||             Output file : 210177-1Counts.txt                               ||
||                 Summary : 210177-1Counts.txt.summary                       ||
||              Paired-end : yes                                              ||
||        Count read pairs : no                                               ||
||              Annotation : Bos_taurus.ARS-UCD1.2.109.gtf.gz (GTF)           ||
||      Dir for temp files : /blue/RNAseq2022/ ...                            ||
||                                                                            ||
||                   Level : meta-feature level                               ||
||      Multimapping reads : not counted                                      ||
|| Multi-overlapping reads : not counted                                      ||
||   Min overlapping bases : 1                                                ||
||                                                                            ||
\\============================================================================//

//================================= Running ==================================\\
||                                                                            ||
|| Load annotation file Bos_taurus.ARS-UCD1.2.109.gtf.gz ...                  ||
||    Features : 433820                                                       ||
||    Meta-features : 27607                                                   ||
||    Chromosomes/contigs : 178                                               ||
||                                                                            ||
|| Process BAM file 210177-1.bam...                                           ||
||    Paired-end reads are included.                                          ||
||    The reads are assigned on the single-end mode.                          ||
||    Total alignments : 43802718                                             ||
||    Successfully assigned alignments : 15799023 (36.1%)                     ||
||    Running time : 1.30 minutes                                             ||
||                                                                            ||
|| Write the final count table.                                               ||
|| Write the read assignment summary.                                         ||
||                                                                            ||
|| Summary of counting results can be found in file "/blue/RNAseq2022/...     ||
|| RNAseq2022/results/FeatureCounts/210177-1Counts.txt.summary"               ||
||                                                                            ||
\\============================================================================//


What I am most confused on is why it states "The reads are assigned on the single-end mode." when my data is paired-end, were aligned as paired, and I specified paired in the arguments for featureCounts.

Also, my overall alignment using Hisat2 was ~94% across all samples. This includes multi-aligned reads etc., but I believe mapped 1 was ~80% or so. I know here I am only counting alignment to meta-features (genes) so I am guessing this is why the "Successfully assigned alignments" drops drastically, but is a ~30-40% average typical? Should I be including multi-mapped and multi-overlapping reads? This is my first time doing bulk RNA-seq analysis.

Thank you in advance to anyone who can provide guidance with this!

featureCounts alignment counts RNA-seq • 579 views
1
Entering edit mode
10 days ago
GenoMax 127k

why it states "The reads are assigned on the single-end mode." when my data is paired-end, were aligned as paired, and I specified paired in the arguments for featureCounts.

Use the two options below together

  -p                  Specify that input data contain paired-end reads. To
perform fragment counting (ie. counting read pairs), the
'--countReadPairs' parameter should also be specified in

is only applicable for paired-end reads.


You may also want to count at exon level and then summarize by the gene.

 -t <string>         Specify feature type(s) in a GTF annotation. If multiple
types are provided, they should be separated by ',' with
no space in between. 'exon' by default. Rows in the
annotation with a matched feature will be extracted and

-g <string>         Specify attribute type in GTF annotation. 'gene_id' by
default. Meta-features used for read counting will be
extracted from annotation using the provided value.

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Entering edit mode

Thank you, I will give this a try. I saw this when reading through the manual, but I was confused by the wording. What exactly do they mean by "Count read pairs (fragments) instead of reads". I know this may be self-explanatory to most, but I just want to make sure I am understanding properly.

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Entering edit mode

I assumed that by specifying -p for paired it would use both reads for counting purposes, so I don't understand why these two options are separate.

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Entering edit mode

Two reads in paired-end sequencing come from one fragment so an explicit --countReadPairs option was added in recent versions of featureCounts. Otherwise reads may be double counted.

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Entering edit mode

it is a pretty big mistake by the developers, -p it used to mean one thing, then with version 2.0.2 they changed what it does

in the past -p would do what --countReadPairs does now, in the new version it is not clear what effect the -p parameter alone has

Release 2.0.2, 29 March 2021

New parameter --countReadPairs is added to featureCounts to explicitly specify that read pairs will be counted, and the -p option in featureCounts now only specifies if the input reads are paired end (it also implied that counting of read pairs would be performed in previous versions).