PeerJ 2017 18;5:e3353. Epub 2017 May 18.
Department of Bioinformatics, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia.
Background: Fast, accurate and high-throughput identification of bacterial isolates is in great demand. The present work was conducted to investigate the possibility of identifying isolates from unassembled next-generation sequencing reads using custom-made guide trees.
Results: A tool named StrainSeeker was developed that constructs a list of specific -mers for each node of any given Newick-format tree and enables the identification of bacterial isolates in 1-2 min. It uses a novel algorithm, which analyses the observed and expected fractions of node-specific -mers to test the presence of each node in the sample. This allows StrainSeeker to determine where the isolate branches off the guide tree and assign it to a clade whereas other tools assign each read to a reference genome. Using a dataset of 100 isolates, we demonstrate that StrainSeeker can predict the clades of with 92% accuracy and correct tree branch assignment with 98% accuracy. Twenty-five thousand Illumina HiSeq reads are sufficient for identification of the strain.
Conclusion: StrainSeeker is a software program that identifies bacterial isolates by assigning them to nodes or leaves of a custom-made guide tree. StrainSeeker's web interface and pre-computed guide trees are available at http://bioinfo.ut.ee/strainseeker. Source code is stored at GitHub: https://github.com/bioinfo-ut/StrainSeeker.