A non-parametric peak calling algorithm for DamID-Seq

Renhua Li, Leonie U. Hempel, Tingbo Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Protein - DNA interactions play a significant role in gene regulation and expression. In order to identify transcription factor binding sites (TFBS) of double sex (DSX) - an important transcription factor in sex determination, we applied the DNA adenine methylation identification (DamID) technology to the fat body tissue of Drosophila, followed by deep sequencing (DamID-Seq). One feature of DamID-Seq data is that induced adenine methylation signals are not assured to be symmetrically distributed at TFBS, which renders the existing peak calling algorithms for ChIP-Seq, including SPP and MACS, inappropriate for DamID-Seq data. This challenged us to develop a new algorithm for peak calling. A challenge in peaking calling based on sequence data is estimating the averaged behavior of background signals. We applied a bootstrap resampling method to short sequence reads in the control (Dam only). After data quality check and mapping reads to a reference genome, the peaking calling procedure compromises the following steps: 1) reads resampling; 2) reads scaling (normalization) and computing signal-to-noise fold changes; 3) filtering; 4) Calling peaks based on a statistically significant threshold. This is a non-parametric method for peak calling (NPPC). We also used irreproducible discovery rate (IDR) analysis, as well as ChIP-Seq data to compare the peaks called by the NPPC. We identified approximately 6,000 peaks for DSX, which point to 1,225 genes related to the fat body tissue difference between female and male Drosophila. Statistical evidence from IDR analysis indicated that these peaks are reproducible across biological replicates. In addition, these peaks are comparable to those identified by use of ChIP-Seq on S2 cells, in terms of peak number, location, and peaks width.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0117415
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
StatePublished - 18 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


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