As non-coding RNAs, circular RNAs (cirRNAs) and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have attracted an increasing amount of attention. They have been confirmed to participate in many biological processes, including playing roles in transcriptional regulation, regulating protein-coding genes, and binding to RNA-associated proteins. Until now, the differences between these two types of non-coding RNAs have not been fully uncovered. It is still quite difficult to detect cirRNAs from other lncRNAs using simple techniques.
In this study, researchers from Shanghai University investigated these two types of non-coding RNAs using several computational methods. The purpose was to extract important factors that could distinguish cirRNAs from other lncRNAs and build an effective classification model to distinguish them. First, they collected cirRNAs, lncRNAs and their representations from a previous study, in which each cirRNA or lncRNA was represented by 188 features derived from its graph representation, sequence and conservation properties. Second, these features were analyzed by the minimum redundancy maximum relevance (mRMR) method. The obtained mRMR feature list, incremental feature selection method and hierarchical extreme learning machine algorithm were employed to build an optimal classification model with sensitivity of 0.703, specificity of 0.850, accuracy of 0.789 and a Matthews correlation coefficient of 0.561. Finally, the researchers analyzed the 16 most important features. Of them, the sequences and structures of the RNA molecule were top ranking, implying they can be potential indicators of differences between cirRNAs and other lncRNAs. Meanwhile, other features of evolutionary conversation, sequence consecution were also important.
The procedures for extracting important features for discriminating cirRNAs
from lncRNAs and building an optimal classification model