Comparative analysis of RNA enrichment methods for preparation of Cryptococcus neoformans RNA sequencing libraries

Journal Article


Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) is the major RNA constituent of cells, therefore most RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) experiments involve removal of rRNA. This process, called RNA enrichment, is done primarily to reduce cost: without rRNA removal, deeper sequencing would need to be performed to balance the sequencing reads wasted on rRNA. The ideal RNA enrichment method would remove all rRNA without affecting other RNA in the sample. We have tested the performance of three RNA enrichment methods on RNA isolated from Cryptococcus neoformans , a fungal pathogen of humans. We show that the RNase H depletion method unambiguously outperforms the commonly used Poly(A) isolation method: the RNase H method more efficiently depletes rRNA while more accurately recapitulating the expression levels of other RNA observed in an unenriched “gold standard”. The RNase H depletion method is also superior to the Ribo-Zero depletion method as measured by rRNA depletion efficiency and recapitulation of protein-coding gene expression levels, while the Ribo-Zero depletion method performs moderately better in preserving non-coding RNA (ncRNA). Finally, we have leveraged this dataset to identify novel long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) genes and to accurately map the C. neoformans mitochondrial rRNA genes.


We compare the efficacy of three different RNA enrichment methods for RNA-Seq in Cryptococcus neoformans RNase H depletion, Ribo-Zero depletion, and Poly(A) isolation. We show that the RNase H depletion method, which is evaluated in C. neoformans samples for the first time here, is highly efficient and specific in removing rRNA. Additionally, using data generated through these analyses, we identify novel long non-coding RNA genes in C. neoformans . We conclude that RNase H depletion is an effective and reliable method for preparation of C. neoformans RNA-Seq libraries.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Telzrow, C; Zwack, P; Righi, SE; Dietrich, F; Chan, C; Owzar, K; Alspaugh, A; Granek, J

Published Date

  • March 2, 2021

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1101/2021.03.01.433483