Typing (MLST)

Two main steps are required to execute an MLST analysis with STing: Database indexing and ST prediction

Database indexing

  1. Create a config file that contains the path to loci and allelic profiles files. The format details for each file are the following:

    Config file

    A tab separated file that follows this format:

    [loci] locus1 relative/path/to/locusFile1.fa locus2 relative/path/to/locusFile2.fa [profile] profile relative/path/to/profileFile.txt

    Blank lines and comments (lines starting with #) in this file, will be ignored. Paths are relative to the config file itself. This is an example of a configuration file for the species Neisseria spp. (test/mlst/pubmlst_db_files/Neisseria_spp/config.txt):

    [loci] abcZ abcZ.fa adk adk.fa aroE aroE.fa fumC fumC.fa gdh gdh.fa pdhC pdhC.fa pgm pgm.fa [profile] Neisseria_spp profile.txt

    Allele sequence file

    A standard multi-FASTA file in which the id of each sequence consists of a locus name and an allele number separated by _:



    Profile file

    A tab separated file which contains each ST and its corresponding allelic profile (test/mlst/pubmlst_db_files/Neisseria_spp/profile.txt):

    ST abcZ adk aroE fumC gdh pdhC pgm clonal_complex 1 1 3 1 1 1 1 3 ST-1 complex/subgroup I/II 2 1 3 4 7 1 1 3 ST-1 complex/subgroup I/II 3 1 3 1 1 1 23 13 ST-1 complex/subgroup I/II 4 1 3 3 1 4 2 3 ST-4 complex/subgroup IV ...

    ST and loci columns (columns 1 to 7) are required in this file.

  2. Build the database using the indexer tool:

    indexer -m <MODE> -c <CONFIG_FILE> -p <PREFIX_FILE>


    indexer -m MLST -c test/mlst/pubmlst_db_files/Neisseria_spp/config.txt -p test/mlst/dbs/Neisseria_spp/db

    The command above will create an index for MLST analysis (mode MLST specified by -m MLST) using the MLST database files defined in the config file test/mlst/pubmlst_db_files/Neisseria_spp/config.txt. As a result, the indexer will generate a series of files named with the prefix db inside the directory test/mlst/dbs/Neisseria_spp.

    The output of the command looks like this:

    Loading sequences from sequences files: N Loci #Seqs. File 1 abcZ 1019 Neisseria_spp/abcZ.fa 2 adk 788 Neisseria_spp/adk.fa 3 aroE 1048 Neisseria_spp/aroE.fa 4 fumC 1125 Neisseria_spp/fumC.fa 5 gdh 1080 Neisseria_spp/gdh.fa 6 pdhC 1025 Neisseria_spp/pdhC.fa 7 pgm 1097 Neisseria_spp/pgm.fa Total sequences loaded: 7182 Loading the profiles file... Done! Creating and saving ESA index from loaded sequences... Done! Index created successfully!

ST prediction

Use the typertool to predict the ST of a read set:



typer -x test/mlst/dbs/Neisseria_spp/db -1 test/mlst/samples/ERR017011_1.fastq.gz -2 test/mlst/samples/ERR017011_2.fastq.gz -s ERR017011

The command above will predict the ST of the read sample called ERR017011 (-s), which comprises the input files test/mlst/samples/ERR017011_1.fastq.gz and test/mlst/samples/ERR017011_2.fastq.gz (specified by -1 and -2), using the index located at the directory test/mlst/dbs/Neisseria_spp with the prefix db (-x test/mlst/dbs/Neisseria_spp/db).

The output of the previous command looks like this:

Sample  Line_type       Status  ST      abcZ    adk     aroE    fumC    gdh     pdhC    pgm     Total_k-mers  Total_reads      Input_files
ERR017011       allelic_profile st_predicted    5       1       1       2       1       3       2       3     76657    3597    ERR017011_1.fastq.gz,ERR017011_2.fastq.gz

By default, the typer application will send the header to stderr, and the prediction result to stdout. You can use the option -o to save the whole results (header and prediction) to a file, e.g., -o my_results.tsv.



typer -x -1 [OPTIONS]


STing typer is an ultrafast assembly- and alignment-free program for sequence typing directly from whole-genome raw sequence reads. STing typer is based on k-mer frequencies, and works with locus-based typing schemes like those defined in the traditional MLST method and its derivatives (e.g, rMLST, cgMLST or wgMLST). STing typer requires an index (DB) created with the STing indexer program.

-h, --help
Display the help message.
Display version information.

Required input parameters:

-x, --index-prefix INDEX_PREFIX_FILENAME
Index prefix filename.
-1, --fastq-1-files FASTQ1
Files with #1 mates, paired with files in _FASTQ2_. Valid file extensions are _.fq_, _.fastq_ (uncompressed fastq), and _.gz_ (gzip'ed fastq).

Input options:

-2, --fastq-2-files FASTQ2
Files with #2 mates, paired with files in _FASTQ1_. Valid file extensions are _.fq_, _.fastq_ (uncompressed fastq), and _.gz_ (gzip'ed fastq).
-s, --sample-name SAMPLE_NAME
Name of the sample to be analized.
-k, --kmer-length KMER_LENGTH
Length of the k-mers to process the input reads. Default: _30_.
-n, --n-top-alleles N_TOP_ALLELES
Number of top alleles by k-mer frequencies, from which best alleles will be called. Default: _2_.

Output options:

-c, --kmer-counts
Select and print the normalized k-mer counts at each locus (k-mer hits divided by allele length).
-a, --allele-cov
Select to calculate and print the percent of the length of each allele that is covered by k-mer hits. Note that this calculation will require more execution time.
-d, --kmer-depth
Select to calculate and print the average k-mer depth of each allele. Note that this calculation will require more execution time.
-t, --k-depth-file KMER_DEPTH_FILENAME
Output filename to save the detailed per-base k-mer depth data.
-e, --ext-k-depth-file EXT_KMER_DEPTH_FILENAME
Output filename to save the extended per-base k-mer depth data.
-o, --output-file OUTPUT_FILENAME
Output filename to save the typing results (instead of stdout).
-y, --print-tidy
Select to print results in a tidy format.
-v, --verbose
Select to print informative messages (to stderr).


(Default). Select to set the _fast_ mode to call alleles based solely on k-mer frequencies. The best allele of each locus is that with the highest k-mer hit frequency.
Select to set the _sensitive_ mode to call alleles based on k-mer frequencies and coverage information. The best allele of each locus is that with the highest k-mer hit frequency and the highest allele coverage. Allele ties are solved selecting the allele with the minimum k-mer depth standard deviation.

Note on FASTQ1 and FASTQ2

FASTQ1 and FASTQ2 can be comma-separated lists (no whitespace) and can be specified many times, e.g., -1 file1.fq,file2.fq -1 file3.fq

Output conventions

Status values:

ST inferred from k-mer hits and profiles table.
There are no k-mer hits for one or more of the loci to infer a profile and its associated ST. Probable causes:
1) k-mer length not adequate (too long),
2) low quality data/too many N's in the data.
There is no ST associated to the inferred allelic profile. Probable causes:
1) k-mer length not adequate (too short),
2) this could be a new allelic profile.

Other values/symbols:

No ST associated or no k-mer hits for any allele of a locus.
Low confidence. Allele predicted with a length coverage below 100%. Probable causes:
1) No enough k-mer hits to cover the whole length of the allele
2) No enough k-mer depth in some part along the range [10, length-10] bp of the allele to consider it as covered.