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Common and phylogenetically widespread coding for peptides by bacterial small RNAs

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Genomics, July 2017
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (71st percentile)
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12 tweeters


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Common and phylogenetically widespread coding for peptides by bacterial small RNAs
Published in
BMC Genomics, July 2017
DOI 10.1186/s12864-017-3932-y
Pubmed ID

Robin C. Friedman, Stefan Kalkhof, Olivia Doppelt-Azeroual, Stephan A. Mueller, Martina Chovancová, Martin von Bergen, Benno Schwikowski


While eukaryotic noncoding RNAs have recently received intense scrutiny, it is becoming clear that bacterial transcription is at least as pervasive. Bacterial small RNAs and antisense RNAs (sRNAs) are often assumed to be noncoding, due to their lack of long open reading frames (ORFs). However, there are numerous examples of sRNAs encoding for small proteins, whether or not they also have a regulatory role at the RNA level. Here, we apply flexible machine learning techniques based on sequence features and comparative genomics to quantify the prevalence of sRNA ORFs under natural selection to maintain protein-coding function in 14 phylogenetically diverse bacteria. Importantly, we quantify uncertainty in our predictions, and follow up on them using mass spectrometry proteomics and comparison to datasets including ribosome profiling. A majority of annotated sRNAs have at least one ORF between 10 and 50 amino acids long, and we conservatively predict that 409±191.7 unannotated sRNA ORFs are under selection to maintain coding (mean estimate and 95% confidence interval), an average of 29 per species considered here. This implies that overall at least 10.3±0.5% of sRNAs have a coding ORF, and in some species around 20% do. 165±69 of these novel coding ORFs have some antisense overlap to annotated ORFs. As experimental validation, many of our predictions are translated in published ribosome profiling data and are identified via mass spectrometry shotgun proteomics. B. subtilis sRNAs with coding ORFs are enriched for high expression in biofilms and confluent growth, and S. pneumoniae sRNAs with coding ORFs are involved in virulence. sRNA coding ORFs are enriched for transmembrane domains and many are predicted novel components of type I toxin/antitoxin systems. We predict over two dozen new protein-coding genes per bacterial species, but crucially also quantified the uncertainty in this estimate. Our predictions for sRNA coding ORFs, along with predicted novel type I toxins and tools for sorting and visualizing genomic context, are freely available in a user-friendly format at http://disco-bac.web.pasteur.fr. We expect these easily-accessible predictions to be a valuable tool for the study not only of bacterial sRNAs and type I toxin-antitoxin systems, but also of bacterial genetics and genomics.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 12 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 54 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 54 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 12 22%
Student > Ph. D. Student 10 19%
Researcher 7 13%
Student > Master 4 7%
Other 4 7%
Other 9 17%
Unknown 8 15%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 25 46%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 11 20%
Computer Science 3 6%
Medicine and Dentistry 2 4%
Immunology and Microbiology 1 2%
Other 3 6%
Unknown 9 17%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 5. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 15 February 2018.
All research outputs
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Outputs from BMC Genomics
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Outputs of similar age from BMC Genomics
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Altmetric has tracked 12,516,641 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done well and is in the 76th percentile: it's in the top 25% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 7,401 research outputs from this source. They receive a mean Attention Score of 4.3. This one has done well, scoring higher than 78% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 263,033 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 71% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 5 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than 2 of them.