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Preprocessing capture area library

After sequencing the Open-ST capture areas, you will get basecall files in bcl format, or raw reads in fastq format (see sequence file formats from Illumina's website).

We have designed a simple computational workflow to transform the raw bcl or fastq files from the sequencing of the barcoded library into table-like files (csv, or tsv) with contain the following information:

cell_bc x_pos y_pos
... ... ...

Where cell_bc is the 32 nucleotide-long spatial barcode, and x_pos/y_pos are 2D spatial coordinates of a specific tile in the capture area (see below).

Before diving into the code, let's clarify some of the terms that are specific to using Illumina flow cells as capture areas. We quote from Illumina's documentation


"Small imaging areas on the flow cell defined as the field of view by the camera. The total number of tiles depends on the number of lanes, swaths, and surfaces that are imaged on the flow cell, and how the cameras work together to collect the images."


"A physical channel with dedicated input and output ports."


"The flow cell is imaged on two surfaces, the top and bottom. The top surface of 1 tile is imaged, then the bottom surface of the same tile is imaged before moving to the next tile."


"A column of tiles in a lane."

Retrieve spatial barcodes coordinates for one tile

The x_pos and y_pos coordinates from the table above are given for each tile, separately. This information is encoded in the bcl and fastq files. To obtain per-tile barcodes and coordinates, run the following code:

openst barcode_preprocessing \
    --fastq-in <fastq_of_tile> \
    --tilecoords-out <out_path> \
    --out-suffix <out_suffix> \
    --out-prefix <out_prefix> \
    --crop-seq <len_int> \
    --rev-comp \

Make sure to replace the placeholders: <fastq_of_tile> to the fastq file of a specific tile; <out_path> where the table-like files will be written; <out_suffix> and <out_prefix> are suffixes and prefixes that are added to the tile file names; <len_int> from the --crop-seq argument is a string in the Python slice format (e.g., 2:32 will take nucleotides 2nd until 32th of the sequence in the fastq file); --rev-comp is provided whether the barcode sequences must be written into the csv as their reverse-complementary; --single-tile argument is provided when the fastq file only contains data for a single tile (our recommendation).

Retrieve spatial barcodes coordinates for all tiles

Above you generated a single tile coordinate. To process all tiles from a flow cell (in parallel), you can run the following snippets for Linux, assuming you have access to the basecalls folder.

First create a lanes_and_tiles.txt file:

cat RunInfo.xml | grep "<Tile>" | sed 's/ *<Tile>//' | sed 's/<\/Tile>//' | sed 's/^[ \t]*//;s/[ \t]*$//' > lanes_and_tiles.txt

where RunInfo.xml is a file contained in the basecalls directory.

Then, run demultiplexing and conversion to fastq simultaneously to generating the barcode spatial coordinate file:

cat lanes_and_tiles.txt | xargs -n 1 -P <parallel_processes> -I {} \
    sh -c 'bcl2fastq -R <bcl_in> --no-lane-splitting \
                -o <bcl_out>/"{}" --tiles s_"{}"; \

            openst barcode_preprocessing \
                --fastq-in <bcl_out>/{}/Undetermined_S0_R1_001.fastq.gz \
                --tilecoords-out <out_path> \
                --out-suffix .txt \
                --out-prefix <out_prefix>"{}" \
                --crop-seq <len_int> \
                --rev-comp \

Again, make sure to replace the placeholders: <bcl_in> and <bcl_out> are the directories where the basecall files are contained and where the converted output fastq files will be saved; The rest of arguments have the same meaning as above. If you generated full fastq yourself, you can adapt the command above to remove the call to bcl2fastq.

Expected output

After running all the steps of this section, you will have a folder with many *.txt.gz files containing the spatial coordinates of flow cell tiles (you will only need to generate this once per flow cell), in the tab format described above.