Tools for microRNA (miR) sequencing data analyses are broadly used in biomedical research. However, the complexity of computational approaches still remains a challenge for biologists with scarce experience in data analytics and bioinformatics. Researchers at the University of Plovdiv have developed miRGalaxy, a Galaxy-based framework for comprehensive analysis of miRs and their sequence variants—miR isoforms (isomiRs). Though isomiRs are commonly reported in deep-sequencing experiments, their detailed structure complexity and specific differential expression (DE) remain not fully examined by the majority of the available analysis tools. miRGalaxy encompasses biologist-user-friendly tools and workflows dedicated to the analysis of the isomiR-ome and its complex behavior in various biological samples. miRGalaxy is developed as a modular, accessible, redistributable, shareable, and user-friendly framework for scientists working with small RNA (sRNA)-seq data. Due to its modular workflow, advanced users can customize the steps and tools for their needs. In addition, the framework provides an analysis report where the significant output results are summarized in charts and visualizations. miRGalaxy can be accessed via preconfigured Docker image flavor and a Toolshed installation if the user already has a running Galaxy instance.
miRGalaxy workflow overview (the tools marked with an asterisk are newly developed for the miRGalaxy framework).
Over the last decade, studies on the expression of miRs and isomiRs in normal and deregulated tissues have led to the discovery of their potential as diagnostic biomarkers. The detection of miRs in biofluids further expanded the exploration of the miR repertoire as a source of liquid biopsy biomarkers. The developers show the miRGalaxy framework application for in-depth analysis of the sRNA-seq data from two different biofluids, milk and plasma, to identify, annotate, and discover specific differentially expressed miRs and isomiRs.