CeL-ID: cell line identification using RNA-seq data

  • Tabrez A. Mohammad (Contributor)
  • Yun S. Tsai (Creator)
  • Safwa Ameer (Contributor)
  • Hung I Harry Chen (Contributor)
  • Yu Chiao Chiu (Contributor)
  • Yidong Chen (Contributor)



Abstract Background Cell lines form the cornerstone of cell-based experimentation studies into understanding the underlying mechanisms of normal and disease biology including cancer. However, it is commonly acknowledged that contamination of cell lines is a prevalent problem affecting biomedical science and available methods for cell line authentication suffer from limited access as well as being too daunting and time-consuming for many researchers. Therefore, a new and cost effective approach for authentication and quality control of cell lines is needed. Results We have developed a new RNA-seq based approach named CeL-ID for cell line authentication. CeL-ID uses RNA-seq data to identify variants and compare with variant profiles of other cell lines. RNA-seq data for 934 CCLE cell lines downloaded from NCI GDC were used to generate cell line specific variant profiles and pair-wise correlations were calculated using frequencies and depth of coverage values of all the variants. Comparative analysis of variant profiles revealed that variant profiles differ significantly from cell line to cell line whereas identical, synonymous and derivative cell lines share high variant identity and are highly correlated (Ď >â 0.9). Our benchmarking studies revealed that CeL-ID method can identify a cell line with high accuracy and can be a valuable tool of cell line authentication in biomedical science. Finally, CeL-ID estimates the possible cross contamination using linear mixture model if no perfect match was detected. Conclusions In this study, we show the utility of an RNA-seq based approach for cell line authentication. Our comparative analysis of variant profiles derived from RNA-seq data revealed that variant profiles of each cell line are distinct and overall share low variant identity with other cell lines whereas identical or synonymous cell lines show significantly high variant identity and hence variant profiles can be used as a discriminatory/identifying feature in cell authentication model.
Date made available2019

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