AnnoLnc – a web server for systematically annotating novel human lncRNAs

Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been shown to play essential roles in almost every important biological process through multiple mechanisms. Although the repertoire of human lncRNAs has rapidly expanded, their biological function and regulation remain largely elusive, calling for a systematic and integrative annotation tool.

Here researchers from Peking University present AnnoLnc, a one-stop portal for systematically annotating novel human lncRNAs. Based on more than 700 data sources and various tool chains, AnnoLnc enables a systematic annotation covering genomic location, secondary structure, expression patterns, transcriptional regulation, miRNA interaction, protein interaction, genetic association and evolution. An intuitive web interface is available for interactive analysis through both desktops and mobile devices, and programmers can further integrate AnnoLnc into their pipeline through standard JSON-based Web Service APIs.

The architecture of the AnnoLnc web server

lncRNAUsers can submit RNA sequences on the AnnoLnc website or by Web Service APIs. First, AnnoLnc tries to map input sequences to the human genome and, if possible, obtain genomic locations. Then, AnnoLnc searches the global cache for possible hits based on both sequences and aligned splicing structures. Cached results are returned directly if a hit is detected, and novel sequences and loci are sent to on-the-fly analysis modules

AnnoLnc is the only web server to provide on-the-fly and systematic annotation for newly identified human lncRNAs. Compared with similar tools, the annotation generated by AnnoLnc covers a much wider spectrum with intuitive visualization. Case studies demonstrate the power of AnnoLnc in not only rediscovering known functions of human lncRNAs but also inspiring novel hypotheses.

Availabilityhttp://annolnc.cbi.pku.edu.cn

Hou M, Tang X, Tian F, Shi F, Liu F, Gao G. (2016) AnnoLnc: a web server for systematically annotating novel human lncRNAs. BMC Genomics 17(1):931. [article]

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